Grant Establishes KC Tobacco Free Coalition

Kosciusko County received a two-year grant from Indiana State Health Department, Tobacco, Prevention and Cessation Commission to establish a new work in Kosciusko County.

Dan Gray, from the Wabash County Tobacco Free Coalition, worked in Kosciusko County the last two years to consider the need for the grant in the county and to determine the interest for its own county coalition to do the work of education, cessation, and prevention. A new coalition will be formed with a partnership of Kosciusko County Health Department and K21 Health Foundation. The grant takes effect on July 1.

Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. It is responsible for approximately 20 percent of all deaths. We are often tempted to minimize the effects of tobacco/smoking because it is legal for adults to purchase and use. However, tobacco use is the only product sold that, when used as directed, causes diseases and death.

Dan Gray, who will be the director of the Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition, stated that the main purpose of the coalition is to make Kosciusko County Hoosiers more aware of the health effects of continued tobacco use by the user as well as the non-user.

Gray continued by stating that the coalition will focus to improve the health of Kosciusko County by educating Kosciusko Hoosiers about the dangers of tobacco and secondhand smoke, provide cessation for those that are ready to quit, and prevention programs for the youth. There will also be a concentrated effort to help Kosciusko County improve the quality of air everyone breathes. Clean air for all county Hoosiers should be everyone’s priority for healthy living.

There will be a part-time coordinator hired to help with the prevention program.  Prevention is the best way to block the addiction, diseases, and death caused by tobacco use. This person will work with the youth of our county through the schools and youth programs and contact businesses and health care providers to make them aware of the free state quit line 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

There is also a need to build a coalition with interested Kosciusko residents who would be eager to help with the work of the coalition. Contact Dan Gray if you are interested in being a part of helping Kosciusko County becoming a healthier county.

The coalition office is located at 1515 Provident Dr., Warsaw. If you are interested in helping with the work of the coalition, need help with cessation, or have any questions, call Dan Gray at 260-571-2464.

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