Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, was joined by several other state and local officials on June 5 as he visited three counties to present funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program. Funding under the three-year program is to be used to reduce tobacco use in Tennessee and educate the public of the dangers and health problems that can result from tobacco use.
Each county in Tennessee will receive funding during this three-year program to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state. All counties are challenged to set goals and select one or more projects that address three topics: eliminating smoking during pregnancy; reducing infants’ and children’s exposure to second-hand smoke; and preventing child and adolescent tobacco use.
Commissioner Dreyzehner visited Crockett County, Gibson County and Benton County. In each county, the county mayor and a county health department representative met with the visiting state officials.
Starting in Camden at 9:30 a.m., Barry Barnett, Benton County Mayor and Tracy Byrd, Benton County Health Director, Tennessee Department of Health greeted Commissioner Dreyzehner, Leslie Humphreys, MPA, Assistant Commissioner for Community Health Services, TDH, and Marilyn Barnes, West Regional Health Director, Tennessee Department of Health at the Benton County Health Department. Benton County received $20, 019 for its tobacco use reduction program. It will focus its first-year projects on preventing child and adolescent tobacco use and eliminating smoking during pregnancy.
Next, it on to Trenton, where at 1 p.m. Gibson County Mayor Tom Witherspoon, Danna Taylor, Gibson County Health Director, Tennessee Department of Health, and State Rep. Curtis Halford, District 79, received Commissioner Dreyzehner’s delegation at the Gibson County Health Department. Gibson County received $33,085 in funding to reduce tobacco use. Gibson County will focus its first-year projects on eliminating smoking during pregnancy and reducing infants’ and children’s exposure to second-hand smoke.
The delegation arrived in Alamo, Tennessee at 2:30 p.m. at the Crockett County Health Department. They were greeted by Gary Reasons, Crockett County Mayor, Danna Taylor, Crockett County Interim Health Director, TDH, and State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh, District 82. Crockett County received $15,930 in funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program. Crockett County will focus its first-year projects on preventing child and adolescent tobacco use and reducing infants’ and children’s exposure to second-hand smoke.
Funding from the Tobacco Settlement was provided to the Tennessee Department of Health for fiscal years 2014-16 to address the state’s high rate of tobacco use and prevent expensive related medical costs. The plan to distribute $15 million over three years has been generated with input from all 95 counties. This plan includes a variety of projects to target behaviors designed to protect the health of Tennessee’s most vulnerable populations: unborn babies, pregnant women and children.