U receives grant to fight tobacco use among youth

Todd Milbourn

As part of the windfall from Minnesota’s 1998 tobacco settlement, the University will receive a $750,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Health, earmarked for establishing youth tobacco-prevention programs.
The grant will be utilized by the Division of Epidemiology within the School of Public Health to develop a tobacco-use evaluation and assessment center.
The Division of Epidemiology studies the causes and effects of public health problems in an effort to develop disease-prevention programs, according to its Web site.
The proposed center will work alongside community groups to stomp out youth smoking in the Twin Cities.
“Community-based programs can play an important role in combating youth smoking,” said Phyllis Pirie, associate director of the Division of Epidemiology.
Despite a general decrease in statewide smoking rates, a higher number of young Minnesotans have been lighting up in recent years, Pirie said.
“Youth smoking continues to be a very serious problem,” Pirie said. “For many years, we were getting ahead of the curve, but the number of youth smokers has gone back up.”
A contract for the Department of Health award will be finalized in the next several weeks, Pirie added.
The University’s grant is one of 13 awarded by the department, totalling $3 million. The grants will be spread among organizations throughout the state for anti-smoking programs.
“We are continuing to build a successful, comprehensive statewide tobacco-prevention and control program that focuses on reducing tobacco use by Minnesota young people,” Mary Sheehan, director of tobacco endowments implementation at the Department of Health, said in a statement.
The Minnesota Institute of Public Health, William Mitchell College of Law, Allina Health System and the Minnesota Council of Churches were among the other recipients.

Todd Milbourn covers technology and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3231.