Greene County Public Health Reports on Tobacco Efforts through ODH Grant
Work Continues to Decrease Tobacco Use & Secondhand Smoke
XENIA, OHIO – October 17, 2020 marks the first anniversary of Tobacco 21 in the state of Ohio. Tobacco 21 was established to make the legal age for purchasing of tobacco products 21 instead of 18. Nearly all smokers start as kids or young adults, and these age groups are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry. Increasing the age at which youth can buy tobacco to 21 prevents young people from ever starting to smoke and reduces the deaths, disease and health care costs caused by tobacco use. Greene County Public Health (GCPH) is a recipient of and manages the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program grant from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). This program promotes healthy outcomes in adults, children, and babies by limiting the effects of tobacco and tobacco smoke by taking steps to lower smoking rates.
Though Tobacco 21 was a great accomplishment for tobacco policy, GCPH is continuing the work to decrease tobacco use and secondhand smoke across Greene County. During this grant year, our agency will be focusing on efforts to address the inequitable burden of tobacco on individuals with a low socioeconomic status (SES). The largest disparities in smoking rates are seen when we break down current smokers by income. According to the latest Greene County Community Health Assessment, 21% of those making $25,000 or less annually reported currently smoking, while only 6% of those making over $25,000 annually reported smoking. The CDC states that “lower-income populations have less access to health care, making it more likely that they are diagnosed at later stages of diseases and conditions and that low SES populations are more likely to suffer the harmful health consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke”.
Greene County Public Health has worked with multi-unit housing and schools to pass non-smoking policies. Currently, almost every school in Greene County has a 100% tobacco free policy per ODH standards. The agency is committed to continuing to work across the county to help decrease tobacco use.
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