ORLANDO - Today, the Orange County Health Department (OCHD) was awarded a grant of 6.6 million dollars for tobacco prevention and control in our community. OCHD will work with the Orange County Tobacco Free Partnership to implement policy changes and will partner with key community agencies such as the American Lung Association, Orange County Public Schools, and community based organizations like the Center for Multicultural Wellness and Prevention and county and city governments to improve the health of Central Florida residents and to help prevent deaths associated with smoking and second hand smoke.
This grant award is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative to support public health efforts to reduce obesity, increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and decrease smoking—four critical actions for combating chronic diseases and promoting health.
The $372.8 million, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was awarded to 44 communities, including cities, towns, and tribes. These communities are receiving awards to implement policy, systems and environmental change strategies over the next two years as one of several initiatives of HHS Communities Putting Prevention to Work.
"The burden of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, strokes, and lung disease threatens to overwhelm our health care systems. An estimated 81 Floridians die every day due to tobacco related diseases, said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin. “The answers in part lie in tobacco prevention programs such as those funded by this grant. Working together as a community we can save more lives."
The competitive funding awards to cities, towns, and tribes across the country will allow communities to support healthy choices among their residents through a variety of methods including increasing the availability of healthy foods and beverages, improving access to safe places for physical activity, discouraging tobacco use, and encouraging smoke-free environments.
Specifically, this initiative in Orange County will work to help make Orlando and Orange County parks smoke-free environments, reduce youth access to tobacco, and encourage physicians to refer patients to smoking cessation programs.