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Dec 3

County Tobacco-Free Parks Featured in On-line Publication

Ringgold County tobacco-free parks were featured in the Fall 2012 edition of The Rural Monitor, an online publication of the Rural Assistance Center (www.raconline.org/newsletter/). The article entitled “Smokers Butt Out in Iowa County” highlights the efforts of the Ringgold County Tobacco Coalition to encourage communities to adopt tobacco-free policies in their parks.

The article talks about youth involvement and the difference they can make. They see themselves as role models to those who are younger and want to set a good example to be followed. Candi Helseth, reporter for the Rural Monitor, talked with Taylor Still, a senior at Mount Ayr High School who participates in the coalition and the student organization Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).

A dozen high school students were involved with the Tobacco Coalition. Their influence helped at least two students quit smoking and join the SADD group. Taylor is quoted in the article saying, “It’s not cool in our class to smoke. A few years ago, that wasn’t the case with the seniors.”

Nearly 75 percent of Ringgold County adults surveyed by the coalition favored tobacco-free parks to help eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, every year 4,400 adults die in Iowa from smoking and 480 nonsmoker adults die from exposure to secondhand smoke.

Ringgold County Public Health invites the community to think about how positive role modeling can be encouraged in Ringgold County towns, schools and parks to help keep youth from using tobacco. To learn more about getting help to stop your tobacco addiction, call QUITLINE IOWA at 1-800-QUIT NOW or contact Ringgold County Public Health at 641-464-0691. You can also find information on other pages of our website and www.facebook.com/rstop. These Tobacco Coalition efforts were funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through the Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant.