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Public Health - Seattle & King County

Tobacco Prevention Program Newsletter, Fall 2010
By Sarah Ross-Viles

Public Health awards $2.2 million in Communities Putting Prevention to Work grants

Public Health has awarded 15 Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) tobacco prevention grants totaling $2.2 million dollars. Funding for these grants is from the $10 million federal CPPW stimulus grant Public Health received for March 2010 - March 2012. The projects funded by CPPW tobacco grants will use policy, systems and environmental change strategies to reduce youth initiation, reduce tobacco disparities, increase cessation and reduce secondhand smoke exposure. Public Health also funded 40 healthy eating and active living projects from a companion CPPW obesity award.

CPPW awards are a unique investment in local public health that are designed to provide health departments with enough funds to make significant and lasting changes in policies and the environment to affect the leading causes of death. Public Health decided to use part of the grant to fund community-driven projects through a competitive process. Reaching the populations in King County that have the highest rates of tobacco use was a priority for this funding.

Public Health's CPPW tobacco grantees will work on changes like tobacco-free parks and hospitals, and smoke-free housing and colleges. A set of school-based projects will use social media to change attitudes around tobacco use, while schools will also evaluate and improve tobacco-free policies. Three grants to community-based organizations will provide training in local tobacco policy and how to educate policy-makers. Publicly funded mental health and substance-abuse treatment centers will get support from a grant to become tobacco-free campuses and provide cessation intervention for clients.

While tobacco use in King County has been steadily declining since funding for a comprehensive tobacco program began in 2000, the decline is no longer as steep. Additionally, large disparities in who uses tobacco in King County show that past efforts have not reached all groups equally. The pooled effect of the interventions funded by CPPW should again shift rates downward and also reach groups missed by other interventions. Because CPPW uses policy, systems and environmental change strategies (like tobacco-free policies) the impact will be sustainable after funding ends.