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Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Tobacco Control Program and Southwest Louisiana AHEC Announce Grant Recipients for Tobacco-Free Health Care Project

Tuesday, January 17, 2012  |  Contact: Media & Communications: Phone: 225.342.1532, E-mail:

BATON ROUGE—The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Tobacco Control Program and its partner, the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Center (Southwest Louisiana AHEC), of Lafayette, have announced the four recipients of the 2012 Tobacco-Free Health Care Project grant, which provides funds to health care facilities committed to using research-based strategies for tobacco prevention, control and awareness, empowering citizens to make healthy lifestyle choices and reduce tobacco use.

The 2012 grantees are CHRISTUS Schumpert Health System of Shreveport, St. Francis Medical Center of Monroe, Women & Children's Hospital of Lake Charles, and Ochsner Clinic Foundation of New Orleans.  Each grantee will receive $150,000 over a 30-month period. A total of nine Louisiana hospitals applied for the grant, and recipients were selected based on their abilities to implement a comprehensive and effective tobacco control program.

The hospitals will use their grant funds to build capacity for positively influencing social norms to reduce or eliminate use of tobacco products through the following initiatives:

  • Eliminating nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke by establishing tobacco-free policies;
  • Promoting tobacco cessation through promotion of the Louisiana Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) and the Fax-to-Quit referral program for health care providers;
  • Reducing tobacco-related health disparities by increasing education for at-risk populations;
  • Preventing the initiation of tobacco use among young people through policy change, education and countering the marketing efforts of the tobacco industry.

The Tobacco-Free Health Care Project grants are funded through a federal grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  CDC's Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs suggest that community programs such as these grant-funded initiatives are an integral component of statewide efforts to reduce and prevent tobacco use.

 "Tobacco use is taking a toll on Louisiana in terms of disease, death and health care costs. Researchers have proven many links between tobacco use and chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, which are threatening our families and our communities," said René Stansbury, tobacco control coordinator for Southwest Louisiana AHEC.

An estimated 6,500 adults in Louisiana die each year from smoking or from diseases caused by secondhand smoke. Louisiana's smoking prevalence is 22 percent among adults, compared to the national average of 17.3 percent. There are also an increasing number of Louisiana residents using smokeless tobacco, a major cause of serious diseases of the mouth and stomach.

About Louisiana Tobacco Control Program
The Louisiana Tobacco Control Program is a state program within the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals' Office of Public Health, under the direction of the Bureau of Primary Care and Rural Health's Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Unit. The program's mission is to use evidence-based strategies in tobacco control surveillance, evaluation, program management, communication and resource development to advance policies promoting a tobacco-free Louisiana. The program is funded primarily through a five-year cooperative agreement with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Office on Smoking and Health. For more information, visit

About Southwest Louisiana AHEC
Southwest Louisiana AHEC is a nonprofit agency located in Lafayette, La., whose mission is to improve health status through access to information, education and health services. For more information, visit