The annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence Hospital and Healthcare Organization Program Awardees have been announced for 2020. The program of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy Initiative recognized thirty-three hospitals, five healthcare organizations and five individual Gold Star Champions for efforts to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

Mid Coast Hospital was recognized for meeting Platinum through the 2020 Gold Star Standards of Excellence program for efforts to prohibit smoking and tobacco use on campus and addressing client tobacco use. This was the ninth year Mid Coast Hospital has participated in the initiative.

“We applaud the ongoing efforts of Maine hospitals and healthcare organizations to address tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and nicotine dependence by meeting the Gold Star Standards of Excellence,” said Kristen McAuley, Tobacco Prevention Services director for the Center for Tobacco Independence. “Addressing tobacco use has continued importance during the current pandemic, as the US CDC states that being a current or former cigarette smoker increases your risk of severe illness from COVID-19.”

As part of its Center for Community Health & Wellness, Mid Coast Hospital offers a tobacco prevention and treatment program that supports Midcoast community members in their efforts to quit using tobacco. The BeFree Tobacco Prevention & Treatment program seeks to prevent all types of tobacco use (including e-cigarettes) among youth, prevent exposure to secondhand smoke in public places and provide treatment for those who use tobacco.

For more information about the Gold Star Standards of Excellence, visit For more information about Mid Coast Hospital’s BeFree program, visit<>.

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