County agency awarded anti-smoking grant

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The Appalachian Family & Children First Council has been awarded a 3-year, $750,000 grant by the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation (TUPCF) to provide tobacco prevention services in Lawrence County.

The Appalachian Family and Children First Council is a 33-member coalition of child and family serving agencies and family representatives from Lawrence County.

The council will use the TUPCF funds to focus on three objectives: reducing exposure to environmental and secondhand tobacco smoke; reducing the initiation of first use among youth; and increasing cessation programs throughout the county.

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The council has collaborated with the Ironton-Lawrence County Area CAO Family Guidance Center, the Lawrence County Health Department and the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to secure this grant and to provide prevention services to the community.

This program is one of 43 grants totaling $21 million in funds over the next three years awarded by TUPCF.

TUPCF now supports tobacco use prevention and cessation programs in all 88 Ohio counties.

"We are thrilled to have received this grant from the Ohio Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Foundation," said Krista Payne, project director for the grant and coordinator for the council. "This money will help us to raise awareness around smoking prevention in our community."

In the coming weeks, one of the prevention activities offered by Family Guidance Center will be evident in local grocers.

The agency has been working with area school children to work

"If you get a grocery bag with a child's hand stamped on it while grocery shopping in the coming weeks, that is a message being sent by area fourth-graders to let everyone know they are taking a stand against tobacco use" said Mollie Stevens, prevention coordinator from Family Guidance Center.

Family Guidance Center is providing various prevention services in the local schools with the hopes of spreading the prevention message to area children, Stevens said.

The Lawrence County Health Department is coordinating a workplace initiative campaign to encourage local businesses to develop smoke-free policies and to offer cessation programs for those who would like to quit smoking.

"In light of the Great American Smoke Out which is November 21, which asks businesses to go smoke-free for one day, we would like to see local businesses think about going smoke-free permanently," said Jane Laber, community tobacco prevention coordinator with the Lawrence County Health Department. "I am visiting local businesses to ask that they participate in a survey regarding workplace smoking policies and trends in Lawrence County.

Laber will be available to help businesses who are interested in developing smoke-free policies.

Additionally, the Lawrence County Health Department will use the grant funds to offer cessation programs and provide some health club memberships to promote cessation.

The Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities will work in conjunction with the council to promote tobacco prevention and cessation for students and adults with multiple handicaps through specialized curriculum aimed at people with disabilities.

For more information, contact the Appalachian Family and Children First Council at (740) 534-9870, Family Guidance Center (740) 532-7855, or the Lawrence County Health Department (740) 532-3962.