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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Thursday, August 23, 2001

State gives $650,000 to anti-tobacco programs

By Lynda Arakawa
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

As a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Kalihi-Palama Health Center, Blandina Mamaclay has seen pregnant women and mothers who smoke and the effects their habit has on the health of their children.

She also said many nonsmoking patients endure second-hand smoke because they have a hard time telling family members not to smoke around them.

The center was one of 14 organizations statewide to receive grants yesterday from the Hawai'i Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund. The grants, totaling $650,000, were awarded for programs aimed at preventing people from smoking and helping smokers quit.

State Health Director Bruce Anderson said tobacco use accounts for 16 percent of deaths in Hawai'i every year and that smoking costs the state $328 million each year in medical and other expenses.

Money for the Tobacco Prevention and Control Trust Fund comes from a settlement that Hawai'i and 45 other states reached with tobacco companies in 1999 in a series of lawsuits over healthcare costs for smokers. Hawai'i's settlement was $1.3 billion, to be paid over 25 years. The state puts 25 percent of the settlement money in the trust fund, 35 percent goes to health-related programs and 40 percent goes to a state "rainy day" fund.

Another $350,000 in grants from the trust fund will be awarded later this year for youth programs, community media and other efforts to discourage smoking.

"Hawai'i is one of only a handful of states nationally to earmark a significant portion of the tobacco settlement money for public health efforts," Gov. Ben Cayetano said. "These groups will receive the support needed to discourage tobacco use in the Islands and to teach Hawai'i residents how to lead healthy, smoke-free lives."

Mamaclay said the Kalihi-Palama Health Center's two-year, $65,000 grant will provide smoking cessation services for pregnant patients and their families.

The Queen's Medical Center's Quit Tobacco Program received a two-year, $84,000 grant for a program to help people quit smoking. The program, estimated to reach 2,000 people, includes seminars, clinics, support groups and other cessation services, said Beth Freitas, manager of the Cancer and Neuroscience Institutes. The program also follows up with patients for up to a year, said Freitas, who noted it can take smokers three to five attempts before they can quit for good.