Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2012, 1:21 pm

Health Dept. works with Housing Authority on grant initiatives

Comment on this story

Press release submitted by RaeAnn Tucker-Marshall


"HEALTH DEPARTMENT WORKS WITH HOUSING AUTHORITY ON 'WE CHOOSE HEALTH' GRANT INITIATIVES"

The Henry and Stark County Health Departments is pleased to announce it has been working with the Henry County Housing Authority on "Smoke Free" initiatives as a part of its new "We Choose Health" Grant.

"We Choose Health" is a multi-year Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) initiative to encourage and support obesity and tobacco prevention in Illinois Communities. IDPH received a Community Transformation Grant (CTG) from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work with communities to implement proactive health programs.

Alison Womack, Health Department "We Choose Health" Grant Community Health Advisor/Specialist notes, "We are pleased to be working with the Henry County Housing Authority to help with smoke free initiatives in its multi-housing units. The truth is that secondhand smoke exposure poses serious health threats to children and adults. According to the US Surgeon General, there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure. Eliminating indoor smoking is the only way to protect nonsmokers from the harmful effects of tobacco smoke. For residents of multi-unit housing (e.g., apartment buildings and condominiums), secondhand smoke can be a major concern given that it can migrate from other units through ventilation systems, plumbing, electrical lines and doorways."

"Smoke-Free" Iniatatives that the Housing Authority is currently undertaking include:
* Instituting smoking huts at their four high-rises (Maple City-Geneseo, Lincoln-Galva, and Hollis and Washington in Kewanee).
* Making outdoor cigarette butt receptacles available at their multi-unit housing and tracking the frequency of cleaning and disposal of these receptacles.
* Adopting and approving a smoke free policy by the Housing Authority's Board of Directors.

Womack adds, "These are just a starting points for us. Other grant goals and objectives include: coordinating educational sessions and smoking cessation sessions; promotion of the Illinois Tobacco Quitline; and monitoring the volume and use of nicotine replacement therapy products among tenants. We look forward to working with the Housing Authority in instituting more proactive "Smoke Free" initiates. After all, such efforts can reduce the risk of heart attacks, stroke, lung cancer and premature death in adults. And in children, they reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), respiratory infections, asthma, and ear infections."

For more information on the "We Choose Health" grant offered through the Henry and Stark County Health Departments call the Department at (309) 852-0197 or visit our website at www.henrystarkhealth.com or find us on Facebook at Henry and Stark County Health Departments.