County schools receive 'Smoke Free' grant

By Staff
Submitted to the FCT
Franklin County Schools received a $27,730.24 grant to assist in the prevention of initiation/continuation of tobacco use among children and adolescents through promoting youth advocacy and empowerment by prohibiting smoking in public places.
The funding was presented through the Alabama Department of Public Health Youth Tobacco Prevention and Control Program
Education of the harmful effects of secondhand smoke is a major goal for the 2006-2007 grant. According to the 2006 report from the Surgeon General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, smoking is the single greatest avoidable cause of disease and death. The six major conclusions are:
1. Many millions of Americans, both children and adults, are still exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes and workplaces despite substantial progress in tobacco control.
2. Secondhand smoke exposure causes disease and premature death in children and adults who do not smoke.
3. Children exposed to secondhand smoke are at an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, ear problems, and more severe asthma. Smoking by parents causes respiratory symptoms and slows lung growth in their children.
4. Exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
5. Eliminating smoking in indoor spaces fully protects nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand smoke. Separating smokers from nonsmokers, cleaning the air, and ventilating buildings cannot eliminate exposures of nonsmokers to secondhand smoke.
6. The scientific evidence indicates that there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.
We now know that 53,800 people die every year from secondhand smoke exposure. This number is based on the midpoint numbers for heart disease deaths (48,500), lung cancer deaths (3,000), and SIDS deaths (2,300) and due to the lack of education of the effects of secondhand smoke, the community is unknowingly creating lifelong health problems for many innocent children.
The first step to alerting parents of the dangers of secondhand smoke is to stop it in public places thus raising their awareness level about the effects of tobacco on the body.
Stopping secondhand smoke in public facilities is the first step to controlling it in the homes.

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