DHA Tobacco-Free Coalition project operates in six Delta counties; Bolivar, Coahoma, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, and Tunica. The program is recognized for Exemplary Service by the Mississippi Department of Health year after year. Our staff work directly with schools and community organizations to prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youth, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, promote tobacco cessation services, and eliminate tobacco related disparities.
Hundreds of Delta high school and elementary students in the six service counties have learned about the dangers of tobacco use through a series of eight lessions beginning with a pre-test focusing on students’ initial knowledge of tobacco and its dangers, and concluding with a post-test on knowledge gained from the course on cessation and prevention. The program comprised of three primary componets:
- Teaching students the importance of abstaining and ways to abstain from tobacco use.
- Teaching students the effects of tobacco on the body, including the effects of second-hand smoke.
- Teaching students the ways in which tobacco use amplifies chronic diseases.
Tobacco prevention is also important because it relates so closely to the chronic diseases that are prevalent in the Delta. Teaching students the role that tobacco use plays in chronic illnesses and conditions such as obesity, asthma, hypertension and diabetes helps drive home the message that tobacco has no place in anyone’s life.
As a result of its outreach program, smoke free ordinances have been adopted in the Delta municipalities of Coahoma, Friars Point, Clarksdale, Jonestown, Lyon, Marks, Sledge, Tutwiler, Sumner, Charleston, Beulah, Drew, Moorhead, Duncan, Alligator, and Indianola, as well as Coahoma County and Delta State University in Cleveland.