The Tobacco Education, Prevention and Cessation Program Strives to Empower Colorado to Quit Smoking By Krista Vachon

Krista Vachon Although Colorado is known for being one of the country’s healthiest states, tobacco remains a leading cause of preventable deaths. Within The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) the State Tobacco Education and Prevention Partnership (STEPP), works to address this deadly public health issue.

The program, which is overseen by the state’s Tobacco Education, Prevention, and Cessation Grant Program Review Committee, strives to lead Colorado’s fight against tobacco-related death, disease, and economic burden by bringing together organizations and individuals to support tobacco-free lifestyles and environments. CDPHE reports that the program and its partners provide inclusive, evidence-based, culturally appropriate, and cost effective programs and policies that are effective in achieving the following goals.

  • Prevent youth from starting to use tobacco;
  • Help people who use tobacco to quit;
  • Assist in the reduction of and protection from secondhand smoke; and
  • Reduce tobacco use among groups that are disproportionately affected and/or at high risk.

According to CDPHE, the health and economic impacts of tobacco tend to be greater for African-Americans, Latinos/Latinas, Asian-Americans/Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, those in treatment for substance abuse or mental illness, people with disabilities, spit tobacco users, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender and people with low socioeconomic status. These 10 high-risk populations also have an increased burden of tobacco-related disease, disability, and death.

Although, eliminating tobacco-related health disparities poses a great challenge, CDPHE reports that “Colorado’s Tobacco Education, Prevention and Cessation Program joins tobacco control coalitions nationwide to understand patterns of tobacco use and consequences within these priority populations.” By doing so, the program hopes to develop and implement effective strategies which acknowledge the special needs of these groups in Colorado.

For those interested in attending a meeting, the Review Committee meets on the third Friday of every month from 1:00-4:30 p.m. at CDPHE, located at 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, 80246. All meetings are open to the public. Please read the Tobacco Grant Program Review Committee Funding Recommendations for FY14 for more detailed information outlining the grants objectives.

The Center for Research Strategies supports the efforts of CDPHE and the Tobacco Education, Prevention, and Cessation Partnership Program, in hopes of creating a healthier, smoke free tomorrow.


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