SmokeLess States Announces 24 New Grant Awards for Tobacco Harm Reduction Effort
CHICAGO, June 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The SmokeLess States National Tobacco Policy Initiative of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), based at the American Medical Association, today announced the second phase recipients of approximately $19 million in g
The SmokeLess States Initiative is a private sector effort that supports activities of statewide coalitions working to improve the tobacco policy environment in the U.S. The $52 million commitment to SmokeLess States over the next three years by the RWJF will support the development of policy-based strategies for reducing tobacco use and the harm associated with it. RWJF funding is intended to complement other sources of funding and mobilize greater numbers of grassroots advocates for policy change.
``With the second round of grant awards disbursed, this policy initiative is now fully underway,'' said Donna Grande, co-director of SmokeLess States. ``We will make significant inroads in the policy arena over the next three years to protect and improve the health of the public in terms of reducing tobacco consumption and exposure to secondhand smoke, as well as helping would-be quitters stop smoking.''
``This Initiative allows SmokeLess States to build on the grassroots efforts it has cultivated since it was established eight years ago,'' said Thomas P. Houston, MD, co-director of SmokeLess States. ``The coalitions can now strategically focus their energy where they can most efficiently and effectively make a significant impact on tobacco policy.''
Grant recipient efforts, which are supported by matching funds, are aimed at any or all of three policy areas: increasing state tobacco excise taxes, reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and fostering changes in Medicaid and private insurance to cover tobacco dependence treatment.
The three policy areas were chosen with the expectation of significantly diminishing the burden of tobacco use on individuals and society as a whole. For example, increasing the price of tobacco products has been proven to reduce demand, lessening the ill health effects associated with tobacco. In addition, environmental tobacco smoke, also known as secondhand smoke or passive smoking, is classified as a ``Group A carcinogen'' by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is known to cause cancer and other diseases. Finally, fostering changes in the insurance system to cover tobacco dependence treatment is expected to make quitting easier for many who try each year. Encouraging insurance revisions is expected to make cessation services accessible to more individuals and also reduce the burden of health care costs on private insurers and the Medicaid system for smoking-related illnesses.
Statewide coalitions awarded grants in the first round of funding this spring are located in: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
SmokeLess States was established in 1993. During its first seven years of existence, the RWJF provided approximately $40 million for education and policy efforts undertaken by statewide coalitions in 36 states and the District of Columbia. Currently, it is the third largest nationwide tobacco prevention program in the U.S. following the Federal government and the American Legacy Foundation in Washington, D.C.
For more information on SmokeLess States please call 312-464-5547.
The American Medical Association is a voluntary service organization of nearly 300,000 physicians from every segment of medicine whose mission is to promote the science and art of medicine and betterment of public health. Founded in 1847, the AMA represents a large portion of the nation's physicians and medical students.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, NJ, is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care. It concentrates its grantmaking in three areas: to assure that all Americans have access to basic health care at reasonable cost; to improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions; and to reduce the personal, social, and economic harm caused by substance abuse - tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.