Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Awards $465,000 To 31 Michigan Groups to Help Curb Youth Smoking
DETROIT, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- To help decrease the number of young people becoming addicted to tobacco, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation has launched the Smoking Prevention and Cessation Among Youth Initiative. The program awarded a to
A matching grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan helped fund the initiative.
According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 3,000 youngsters under age 18 become daily smokers every day. The CDC also estimates that daily smoking by children under age 18 has risen by 73 percent over the last 10 years.
``For every three teenagers who smoke, one will die of a smoking-related disease,'' said foundation board member John Coury, M.D.
``We believe that this initiative is an important investment that can save lives, improve health and reduce avoidable medical costs,'' said Ira Strumwasser, BCBSM Foundation executive director and chief executive officer. ``In Michigan, approximately 26 percent of the adult population smoke, making Michigan seventh highest in the country among states in the number of residents who smoke. We need to promote ways to stop this cycle and help our children avoid smoking-related illnesses.''
Strumwasser said smoking-related illnesses account for $75 billion in medical costs each year in our country.
The 31 awardees include community foundation youth advisory committees, schools, church groups and health care organizations. To qualify for the grant, the groups pledged to provide $1,500 through their own fund-raising efforts. The groups are all nonprofit 501(c)(3) youth service or educational organizations in Michigan. In addition, the awardees showed evidence of youth involvement in their planning processes.
The outreach activities include presentations targeting the health risks of tobacco, awareness advertising, videos, brochures, and skits dispelling the myth that smoking is glamorous. The effort is geared toward grade school and high school students. The foundation has contracted with Formative Evaluation Research Associates in Ann Arbor to track and evaluate the success of the activities.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation is an independent and nonprofit affiliate of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The foundation is committed to improving the health of Michigan residents through the support of research and innovative health programs designed to provide high-quality and appropriate access to health care.