Group receives $44,000 to curb smoking
PERRY COUNTY â€” The Perry County Substance Abuse Committee has been awarded a $44,000 grant to prevent county residents from joining the ranks of Hoosier smokers and helping those who already light up to kick the habit.
The funds, from a state organization known as Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation, come from the stateâ€™s share of a master settlement agreement reached several years ago between 46 state attorney generals and tobacco companies.
The substance abuse committee is serving as the lead agency and is coordinating smoking prevention and cessation efforts with the ITPC.
Randy Dennison, director of program services at Perry County Memorial Hospital and a member of the committee, said a subgroup, the Perry County Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Committee, will guide the use of funds.
Dennison said the committee will focus its efforts in four areas:
â€¢ Building strong community partnerships that will help achieve the committeeâ€™s goals of reducing the effects of tobacco in the county.
â€¢ Protect residents from exposure to environmental tobacco, such as second-hand smoke.
â€¢ Reducing the number of youth initiated into the use of tobacco and lessening their access to tobacco.
â€¢ Promoting and using resources to help people quit smoking.
In the last two areas, Dennison said the group will offer funding to various programs and projects organized by others in the community that promote tobacco prevention and cessation. â€œWeâ€™ll be making grants to groups to help build awareness about the effects of tobacco and to reduce smoking,â€ said Dennison.
The committeeâ€™s efforts are broad in that they include supporting efforts to prevent people from beginning to smoke and helping those who have already begun to smoke to stop.
â€œIt needs to be a two-prong approach,â€ Dennison said. â€œObviously there are people who are already smoking, and we need to address them, along with trying to prevent others from starting.â€
The county committee plans to hire a coordinator to help direct efforts on a local level. Possible programs include developing classroom curricula for schools and helping teachers better explain the dangers and consequences of smoking.
Funds designated to Perry County are among $7.5 million in local grants awarded across the state. ITPC is also funding a statewide advertising and media campaign, promoting increased enforcement of laws regarding tobacco and youth activities focused at preventing young people from smoking.
â€œWe know that people at the local level can provide solutions that will help their neighbors quit smoking and prevent them from starting,â€ ITPC Executive Director Karla Sneegas said. â€œWeâ€™ve focused on sending dollars to community programs that can directly impact peopleâ€™s struggle with tobacco addiction and educate them on tobaccoâ€™s toll on Hoosier health.â€
Dennison said the funding period for the committee encompasses a two-year period. An additional $44,000 is expected in 2003.