KOSCIUSKO — Kosciusko County’s two-year grant from Indiana State Health Department, Tobacco, Prevention and Cessation Commission was renewed for another two years (2017-2019).
Dan Gray, director of the Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition, expresses gratitude for the support that comes from the County. Without everyone working together, we would not be able to be successful with the tobacco education, cessation, and prevention programs. It is because of this success Hoosiers are more aware of the dangers of tobacco use, more people are quitting, and more are not starting. TPCC recognizes everything we are accomplishing.
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.
Gray stated that the main purpose of the Coalition is to make Kosciusko County Hoosiers more aware of the health effects of continued tobacco use. How it not only effects those who use tobacco but also those that are exposed to the secondhand smoke and the impact it has on our economy because of the rising health costs.
Gray continued by stating that the Coalition will remain focused on improving the health of Kosciusko County through the education programs regarding the dangers of tobacco and secondhand smoke, provide cessation for those that are ready to quit through 1-800- QUIT-NOW, and go into the schools with prevention programs for the youth.
There will also be a concentrated effort to help Kosciusko County improve the quality of air everyone breathes. Even though there is a “no smoking” state law, it does not go far enough to protect everyone. Clean air for all County Hoosiers should be a priority for healthy living.
There is a concentrated concern for the women in the County that smoke while pregnant. 13.4 percent of the pregnant women in Kosciusko County smoke. When a pregnant woman smokes while she is pregnant or is exposed to secondhand smoke, the baby in the womb is affected by the smoke and nicotine that enters the womb. When the smoke is inhaled into the lungs it goes into the womb and the baby smokes. The baby is then susceptible to tobacco related diseases and nicotine addiction. There were 138 births affected last year by smoking in Kosciusko County with an added medical cost of $138,885.00.
The Kosciusko County Tobacco Free Coalition has partnered with Parkview Warsaw Hospital to introduce the Baby & Me Tobacco Free program to the County. This program provides counseling support and resources to pregnant women to help them quit and remain quit after the birth of the baby. This will result in improved birth and long-term positive outcomes for women, children, and their families. Those that quit will receive $25 diaper vouchers up to 12 months past the birth of their baby. This program is an evidence based, smoking treatment program created to reduce the burden of tobacco. Anyone interested in knowing more about the Baby & Me Tobacco Free program, call Heidi, (574) 372-3514.
Anyone or organization that wants more information about the dangers of tobacco or if an organization needs a speaker to talk about the dangers of tobacco, secondhand smoke and/or the e-cigarette, call the office at (574) 372-3514. If anyone needs help to stop their tobacco addiction, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or call the Coalition office and ask for Dan. The Coalition office is located at 1515 Provident Drive, Warsaw.