Grant money spreads anti-tobacco message
A woman who lost her voice through smoking plans to spread her anti-tobacco message with the help of a $50,000 grant, one of seven authorized recently with part of Montanaâ€™s money from the tobacco industry.
With a mechanical device and an implant in her neck, 52-year-old Nancy Davis Walker of Great Falls still is able to communicate. She said she intends to tell young people about the reality of smoking.
In 1989, Walker underwent surgery for the cancer that she blames on smoking, and lost her voice.
Now she is preparing to speak to about 15,000 school children at 25 locations around Montana over the next year, delivering her Nancyâ€™s Voice Against Tobacco message.
Walker, who started smoking in high school, said teen-agers are startled by descriptions of tobaccoâ€™s damage to her body, and by information about financial ruin from tobacco use.
On Friday, the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services announced funding for Walkerâ€™s efforts and other projects against tobacco.
In the late 1990s, cigarette manufacturers agreed to pay states billions of dollars for health problems their products caused. A constitutional amendment approved by Montana voters last month requires the state put 40 percent of its share in a trust for tobacco education and health programs.
In addition to the Walker project, the grants announced Friday will provide:
- $50,000 for Montana State University-Billings to fight tobacco use at that campus and at Rocky Mountain College.
- $30,000 to the state health departmentâ€™s Oral Health Program, to screen sixth-graders for precancerous lesions and educate students about the dangers of chewing tobacco.
- $30,000 to Livingston Memorial Hospital to help women of childbearing age stop smoking.
- $20,761 to Livingston Community Health System, to discourage tobacco use among men and boys in Park and Sweetgrass counties.
- $50,000 for a program to teach American Indians, ages 12-21, about the effects of smoking and second-hand smoke.
- $35,962 to promote tobacco abstention among people at the 2001 Big Sky State Games.