The DeKalb County Board of Health is the only county in the state of Georgia to be awarded a grant of $3.2 million for a county-wide tobacco prevention program.
This grant award is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative to support public health efforts to reduce obesity, increase physical activity, improve nutrition and decrease smoking. These are four critical actions for combating chronic diseases and promoting health.
The $372.8 million, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was awarded across the U.S. to 44 communities, including cities, towns and tribes. These communities are receiving awards to implement policy, systems and environmental change strategies over the next two years as one of several initiatives of HHS Communities Putting Prevention to Work.
“Preventing youth from smoking, helping those who do use tobacco products to find Quit Line and other cessation programs and promoting smoke-free environments are critical for reducing the burden of illness and death caused by using tobacco products,” said S. Elizabeth Ford, M.D., M.B.A., district health director of the DeKalb County Board of Health.
Numerous community partners, including the DeKalb County School System and DeKalb County Parks and Recreation, will assist the health department with implementing the program.
The competitive funding will allow communities to support healthy choices among their residents through a variety of methods, including increasing the availability of healthy foods and beverages, improving access to safe places for physical activity, discouraging tobacco use and encouraging smoke-free environments.
Specifically, the work that the DeKalb County Board of Health will be doing includes:
- Creating tobacco-free parks, schools and college campuses.
- Promoting Georgia’s tobacco Quit Line.
- Counter-marketing against tobacco advertising.
“Tobacco use costs Georgia more than $5 billion every year, including $1.8 billion in health care costs among adults 18 and older and $3.4 billion in lost productivity costs among adults 35 years and older,” said Christopher Holliday, Ph.D., M.P.H, program director of Health Assessment and Promotion and the principal investigator of the CPPW grant.
Research shows that prevention efforts do work and help to reduce overall health care costs.
“Prevention and cessation of tobacco use will save lives and help people avoid harm and suffering from the many smoking-related illnesses,” said Dr. Rhonda Medows, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health and state health officer.
Medows adds, “Dr. Ford and her team at the DeKalb County Board of Health are to be congratulated for the excellent work they are doing to help reduce Georgia’s burden of chronic diseases. I look forward to seeing the continued success they will achieve through the provision of this grant.”
To learn more about DeKalb County Board of Health’s prevention and wellness projects, visit www.dekalbhealth.net.