BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Preventing tobacco use is the number one goal of one Region 8 organization. Now a program that started in Mississippi County is spreading to other parts of the area. A grant for more than $60,000 will allow the Mississippi County Coalition for a Tobacco Free Arkansas to spread their wings and work outside their county.
Over the past several years many positive things have happened in Blytheville and surrounding areas in their effort to stamp out smoking.
"We've got our work cut out for us but we welcome the opportunity to roll our sleeves up and go to work and make these places be tobacco free," said Coalition Chairman Elroy Brown.
Crittenden, Craighead and Poinsett Counties are now part of the prevention programs.
"For us to be able to present this to the community, to our kids and to see what is being done and for it to spill over and to spread this is outstanding," said Brown.
"It's going to be a way to take a program that works and one that is actually reducing some health rates and take those and use those programs and strategies," said Dorothy Newsom with the Crowley's Ridge Development Council.
Elroy Brown is the chairman of the coalition. He said this is the next step in prevention.
"We have in Mississippi County changed the norm of the way people see smoking," said Brown.
The grant comes from the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office. Brown said minority doesn't only mean the color of someone's skin.
"Arkansas Department of Health has information and a program to address pregnant women they're addressing gay and lesbian communities so we're trying to get this information out," said Brown.
This grant will enhance what they are already doing in Mississippi County and in the African American community
"We want to see prevention and education just going on constantly. We want to save lives," said Newsom.
He said a lot of people still don't know the dangers of second hand smoke and the more people they can reach the healthier we will be.
"Tobacco prevention works. It makes a difference," said Brown.
If you are interested in helping with smoking cessation or prevention in your community you can call brown at: 870-762-1788.