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7.11.19 – The Ross County Health District has been awarded grant funds from the Ohio Department of Health to increase community readiness on tobacco control in Chillicothe and Ross County. The goal of the grant is to create a social norm change to decrease initiation and use of tobacco and to decrease the community’s exposure to secondhand smoke.

Tobacco kills half a million people a year, more than car crashes, gun violence, and drug overdoses combined. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) projects that without a change, nicotine addiction and tobacco use will shorten the lives of 5.6 million kids alive today. Ross County has higher than state average smoking rates among adults at an estimated 22% and nearly double the state average of births were to mothers who smoked at 27.9%.

“In our work with the Partners for a Healthier Ross County collaborative on the 2016 Community Health Assessment, smoking rates and lung cancer prevalence were identified as significant health issues for the county,” said Ben Avery, Administrator, Ross County Health District. “From those findings, a subcommittee, BreatheWell Ross, was developed to begin identifying strategies to address smoking-related health impacts. Since forming, BreatheWell Ross has been working diligently over the last two years and will now be supported by a fully funded grant position,” explained Avery.

The health district will work collaboratively with the BreatheWell Ross workgroup to decrease the number of residents exposed to secondhand smoke in public spaces, decrease the accessibility of tobacco to youth, and increase service provider capacity to treat tobacco users ready to quit. Efforts will be led by Kim Hardesty, community health specialist for the Ross County Health District. The health district is inviting members of the public, business owners and organization leaders interested in this initiative to join the monthly BreatheWell Ross meetings held the second Wednesday of the month at 9:30 a.m. at the Ross County Health District. Individuals interested in adopting smoke-free policies at their workplace can also call 740-779-9652.  The full media release can be seen here:   RCHD Media Release Tobacco Grant