Money goes to smoking prevention programs
MONTPELIER - The state Health Department doled out $1.4 million Thursday to 23 communities around the state for efforts to prevent smoking.
The funding is part of the state's multi-million dollar settlement from the tobacco industry.
Groups were awarded between $41,963 and $74,000 for programs to prevent teenagers from smoking, to help smokers quit and to reduce exposure to second-hand smoke.
"Creating tobacco-free communities throughout Vermont is essential to reaching our goal to reduce smoking by 50 percent," Health Commissioner Dr. Jan Carney said Thursday. "This funding goes directly into the hands of community members who are experts in the strengths and weaknesses of tobacco control efforts locally."
After months of negotiations this year, the Legislature approved using $6 million for programs to combat tobacco use and $17 million to fund the Vermont Health Access Program, the state-backed health insurance program for the poor.
Another $170,000 will go into the tobacco trust fund to pay for future anti-smoking programs.
A total of 36 coalitions applied for the $1.4 million in community grants. The proposals were reviewed by a board of anti-tobacco advocates and experts appointed by the Legislature, who then made recommendations to the Health Department.
"It's exciting to see the national tobacco settlement money being put to work," said Jennifer Wallace Brodeur, vice chairwoman of the Vermont Tobacco Evaluation and Review Board.
The Health Department awarded the following grants:
* $63,126 will go to the Otter Creek Safe and Drug Free Communities Coalition, Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union, to train youths in an anti-smoking campaign.
* $50,000 will go to Orleans County Prevention Partnership in Newport to train people to visit homes to help eliminate children's exposure to tobacco smoke.
* $69,689 will go to Communities Against Tobacco Coalition in Brattleboro to provide child care centers with information on the dangers of second-hand smoke.
* $64,000 will go to the Community Coordinating Council in St. Johnsbury for an after-school program that links elders who have quit smoking with youths who want to quit.
* $56,060 will go to New Directions for Barre to host media and theater camps to provide tobacco, alcohol and drug-free alternative activities for youths.
* $72,065 will go to the Faith and Youth Development for the Future Coalition in Burlington to help leaders include tobacco prevention messages in their congregations and work with youth to develop a tobacco prevention curriculum.
* $55,050 will go to the Gifford Community Tobacco Coalition in Randolph to develop a tobacco prevention curriculum with the Boys and Girls Club in Randolph and a youth theater group that will develop and perform anti-tobacco plays.
* $50,000 will go to the Health and Traffic Safety Coalition in Newport for youths to write and record anti-tobacco ads for local radio stations and participate in journalism workshops highlighting tobacco prevention.
* $72,500 will go to the Morrisville Lamoille Valley Coalition to work with local colleges to create and enforce smoke-free campuses and to work with Abenaki leaders to address the cultural issue of Abenaki use of tobacco in ceremonies and rituals.
* $66,500 will go to the Windham Northeast Tobacco Coalition Bellows Falls to help community members educate one another on the hazards of tobacco smoke and to eliminate adult smoking on school grounds during sporting events and other functions.
* $66,900 will go to the People of Addison County Together in Middlebury to encourage women and their families not to smoke around children.
* $71,000 will go to the Franklin-Grand Isle Tobacco Prevention Coalition in St. Albans for an eight-week tobacco prevention program.
* $65,500 will go to the Springfield Community Partnership-Tobacco Free Coalition to notify physicians about smoking cessation opportunities.
* $41,963 will go to the Cabot Coalition to help fire departments educate community members about the dangers of smoking inside homes.
* $61,500 will go to the South Burlington New Directions Coalition for a theater group that will develop and write scripts about tobacco use.
* $64,042 will go the Chittenden East Community Partnership in Richmond for youths to create music videos and art with anti-smoking themes.
* $71,933 will go to the University of Vermont Coalition Against Tobacco Smoking to educate 300 women about the dangers of smoking.
* $45,520 will go to the Windsor Central Supervisory Union in Woodstock to enforce the school smoke-free zone and to enlist a local bank to create a "tobacco life savings program."
* $75,000 will go the Central Vermont New Directions Coalition in Montpelier to develop theatrical performances dealing with tobacco issues.
* $55,239 will go the Essex Community Wellness Committee in Essex Junction to advertise in the Essex Reporter and to distribute biweekly information to schools on the dangers of smoking.
* $56,167 will go to Stamp Out in Bennington for a tobacco slogan program, an anti-smoking rally and for a youth program.
* $75,000 will go to the Mount Ascutney Prevention Program in Windsor to organize teen-age discussion nights.
* $73,946 will go to RAPCO in Rutland to pay for a youth media campaign using radio, newspaper, television, and movie theaters to change perceptions about tobacco use.