The Anderson County Health Department and community partners Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County, Anderson County Schools, Clinton City Schools, and Oak Ridge City Schools have made great strides in tobacco prevention since nearly $65,000 was awarded to Anderson County earlier this year. At the Tobacco Initiative Reception held on Wednesday, October 22 those strides were recognized. Art Miller, Director of the Anderson County Health Department said “this is the first time tobacco settlement funds are being used to fund tobacco prevention.”
ver 40 attendees watched as the ASAP Youth Coalition demonstrated why they “Choose Not To Use” tobacco through a special presentation of a skit they wrote and produced titled “Snow White and the Seven Side Effects”. During the skit the dangers of tobacco use such as cigarettes being the leading cause of house fires with over 7,600 each year in the U.S. and losing teeth after the use of chewing tobacco were highlighted. Coughy, Gummy, Smelly, Burny, Grumpy, Sicky and Dead will be together again with Snow White in the coming weeks during presentations given at all elementary schools in the Anderson County School System. This will kick off the #ChooseNotToUse contest where students will be able to participate in showing why they choose not to use tobacco products in their own special way, which may include skits, songs, t-shirts, poems, stories, art projects or other ways they choose to express their commitment to being tobacco-free. Clinton City and Oak Ridge Schools students will also be able to participate in a poster contest showing why they choose not to use tobacco.
Representatives from across the county attended the reception where they received their new “let’s be tobacco-free” park signs. Over 300 signs will be installed in the coming weeks in Clinton, Norris, Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs, Rocky Top, and Anderson County Parks, Norris Dam State Park, the UT Arboretum, Clinton City Schools, Oak Ridge City Schools and Anderson County Schools. If you know of an outdoor area you would like to see people encouraged to be tobacco-free call Stacey Pratt of ASAP at 865-457-3007 or email Stacey@ASAPofAnderson.org to request a sign.
These community partners will continue to work together over the next two years to use the tobacco settlement funds to reduce tobacco use in Anderson County youth, pregnant moms and secondhand smoke exposure.