June 29, 2004

CHAPEL HILL — The N.C. Institute for Public Health, a component of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s School of Public Health, recently received a two-year grant to work toward reducing teen smoking in northeastern North Carolina.The N.C. Health and Wellness Trust Fund Commission awarded the $850,000 grant, for the collaborative effort between the institute and the Northeastern North Carolina Partnership for Public Health. Eleven of the partnership’s member counties will participate in the new Northeastern North Carolina Teen Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Initiative. Included are Pasquotank, Camden, Bertie, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Beaufort, Edgecombe, Martin, Northampton and Warren counties.The initiative’s objectives are to increase the proportion of middle school and high school students who have never smoked, increase the number of school districts that are 100 percent smoke-free, reduce the number of teen smokers and reduce the number of teens who use smokeless tobacco products.

The partnership and institute have begun planning strategies, said Dr. John Graham, the institute’s deputy director and the initiative’s principal investigator. Officials are hiring project staff and developing a detailed project plan, among other activities.

This initiative is one of many collaborations between the institute and local health directors, said Graham.

“This project is part of a long-standing tradition at the institute, the School of Public Health and the larger university to support those who are providing essential services to North Carolinians.

“We know that smoking is a preventable source of a number of serious illnesses. As an example, 87 percent of all lung cancer, one of the leading forms of cancer, derives from smoking. We look forward to working together to address this harmful and challenging problem.”

The N.C. Institute for Public Health links UNC’s School of Public Health with public health professionals. The institute directs numerous training programs and conferences and provides consulting services to local health departments and other health organizations. The institute also is involved in emerging public health issues such as genomics, homeland security and community design to fight obesity.

N.C. Institute for Public Health contact: Bev Holt, (919) 966-6274 or bev_holt@unc.edu

School of Public Health contact: Emily Smith, (919) 966-8498 or emilysmith@unc.edu

For further information please contact Emily Smith either by phone at 919-966-8498 or by email at emily_smith@unc.edu


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