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February 6, 2001
For More Information Contact:
Diane Gonzolas, Citizen Information Center, 441-7831
Charlotte Burke, Health Department, 441-8011
Health Department Receives Major Tobacco Grant

Lincoln Mayor Don Wesely today announced that the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department (LLCHD) and its partners have received a $250,000 grant from the Tobacco Free Nebraska Program of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System (HHS). The funds are part of the national tobacco settlement and are designated specifically for use in schools and communities. Locally, the funds will be used for efforts to prevent children from starting to use tobacco and to protect the public from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

"Tobacco use costs Lancaster County tens of millions of dollars a year, and the cost to the state is in the hundreds of millions," said Wesely. "Using tobacco settlement funds to prevent our kids from starting to use tobacco and to protect the public from environmental tobacco smoke will have a huge economic payback."

The LLCHD and its partners, the Lincoln Medical Education Foundation and the Lincoln Council on Alcoholism and Drugs, were notified last week that their application for the tobacco prevention and control funds had been approved. Other agencies included in the project are the Lincoln Public Schools; Health Education, Inc.; BryanLGH; the UNL Health Center; the American Lung Association; the American Cancer Society; the American Heart Association; and the Lancaster County Extension Service . The participating agencies are all part of the Tobacco Free Lincoln Coalition, and the projects funded by the new grant complement the local Coalition's efforts to reduce disease and death caused from tobacco use.

LLCHD currently receives funding for tobacco control and prevention from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention through the Nebraska HHS. This funding is used for education programs in the schools; reducing youth access to tobacco through such activities such as retail compliance checks; and efforts to promote clean indoor air.

The new funds will be used to educate the public about the hazards of tobacco smoke, to promote clean air policies, to help businesses become smoke free and to work with young people to help them become tobacco-free advocates.

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