Reducing the Use of Tobacco - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Reducing the Use of Tobacco

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On Monday, December 30 , Commissioners' Court of Wichita Co. held a special session. One of the biggest items on the agenda was to decide if the county would assist in funding of a state grant, that aims to reduce the use of tobacco. The commissioners voted 4 to 1 in favor.

The grant is from the Texas Department of State Health Services and will help bring the 5 year program "Tobacco Prevention and Control Coalitions" to Wichita County.

The program will only cost the county $36,666 in 2014 and every year afterwards. The money isn't going to come from an increase in taxes, but from the county's Tobacco fund. If the county continues to support the program, it could cost them $183,330.

Amy Fagan with the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District said it is going to be worth it. Other communities that have already implemented this program saw a 39 percent reduction in smoking among youths and a 27 percent reduction among adults.

The most important goal of the program is to prevent the use of tobacco among the youth, and how it does it is quite innovative.

"One of the neatest components in the grant is in the youth component. It has a peer to peer idea. We are going to teach kids to be youth leaders, and they are going to teach each other smoking isn't cool," said Fagan.

But the program will help everyone. The health district is going to teach clinicians how to better encourage people to not smoke or never start smoking.

Unfortunately, the program is not a sure thing. The health district also needs money from the city of Wichita Falls. It is going to ask the city for $43,268 a year.

James Parish, Newschannel 6