Antismoking program went up in smoke

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Friday's news article "Stop-smoking cash strays from intent" was discouraging, but not surprising.

In the late 1990s/early 2000, I worked in southwest Florida as a program coordinator for the American Lung Association of Gulfcoast Florida. The Big Tobacco settlement, hard-fought for by Florida governor Lawton Chiles, had been awarded and our program Not on Tobacco (N-O-T) was launching. I worked alongside a handful of dedicated coordinators in other regional ALA offices around the state to put this teen smoking cessation program in place in most Florida high schools.

The program itselfÂcame through a partnership with the University of West Virginia. We worked the first year like a study, submitting data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

The program was awarded the designation of "Program that Works" by the CDC and carried on from there without extra study paperwork.

It's exciting to report that the program did work. No nicotine patches were used. Small groups were walked through weeks of meetings with a trained faculty facilitator on campus. Behavioral modification and continual encouragement helped so many teens kick the habit. The trickle-down of these sessions was also often improvements in otherÂareas of the teens' lives. Better grades. Better relationships.

Florida's N-O-T program was held up as the gold standard for others around the country to model with their own teens. And, I believe, rightly so.

Alas, the grant money disappeared. It was diverted to building roads and so forth. How does that happen? I wondered this often. I heard explanations like, "Patients with lung issues need to be able to get to their doctors on good roads."

We had a strong solution for the nation's young people in our hands. But, it was all blown away like a puff of smoke.

Julie Butler

Martinez

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mad_max
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mad_max 11/26/08 - 11:02 am
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Haven't you figured it out

Haven't you figured it out yet. Nobody cared about smokers or smoking prevention. It was a money grab by the states from start to finish. The states benefit from both ends. They got the money from the lawsuit and spent it where they wanted to and they still get the exhorbitant taxes from cigarettes so they love it when people smoke. Grow up. It was and is always about the money. It was NEVER about health care for smokers or prevention programs.

reader54
522
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reader54 11/26/08 - 11:51 am
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Mad Max;You got

Mad Max;You got it!!Money,Money,Money!! Damn the people!Money,Money,Money.If it were "weed" without a lobby,you would be under the jail. Which is more harmful? Money,Money,Money.

virgilk
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virgilk 11/26/08 - 12:59 pm
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Looks like everyone has

Looks like everyone has caught on to the money grab.

TFK is just another so-called Non-Profit to throw money into. I always thought Non-Profits were supposed to stay out of advocacy in politics or loose their Non-Profit status. It's an easy way to keep a six figure income for those who can't hold a real job. The same goes for the other Non-Profits like the ACS, ALA etc.

It is not just tobacco industry spokesmen who question the EPA's findings on passive smoke. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service, for one, has concluded that "the statistical record does not appear to support a conclusion that there are substantial health effects of passive smoking." The CRS noted that under circumstances of conventional studies, the EPA's finding "is not statistically significant." Steve Milloy, president of the Environmental Policy Analysis Network, have noted that even the risk the EPA did find (1.19) is so tiny that some experts don't even consider it a real risk. He notes that there are higher correlations between yogurt and ovarian cancer (2), whole milk and lung cancer (2.14), and abortion and breast cancer (1.5), than there is between passive smoke and lung cancer.

patriciathomas
43
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patriciathomas 11/26/08 - 01:59 pm
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Pretty simple, everyone knew

Pretty simple, everyone knew the states were BSing when they initiated the money grab. The big show gave the "news" some story lines and the lawyers some extra income. Tobacco was too profitable and some redistribution needed to take place. SURPRISE!!

reader54
522
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reader54 11/26/08 - 05:28 pm
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Yes, Big Tobbaco is too

Yes, Big Tobbaco is too profitable and DEADLY! SURPRISE!!!! Maybe you would prefer them to keep their blood money.

virgilk
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virgilk 11/26/08 - 09:01 pm
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It's about time the money was

It's about time the money was being put to good use.

gafanz
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gafanz 12/04/08 - 09:27 pm
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Mad Max - Sorry you've

Mad Max -

Sorry you've mistaken the main point of the above letter.

ALA was making a positive difference in the lives of many.

If people want a program that works to help their teens quit smoking (voluntarily), they should research the "N-O-T" program or current versions of it -- in their region.

It may still be available, funded privately or through ALA fund-raising, in certain parts of the country.

The letter in no way supports Big Tobacco.

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