March 19, 2001

The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has awarded grants up to $24,999 to community groups statewide to create programs and materials that will raise awareness about the dangers of tobacco use among minority youth.

Individuals, grassroots groups and community-based organizations, including churches, art groups and Native American tribal organizations were awarded a total of more than $860,000 in grants to conduct anti-tobacco, educational events and develop culturally specific products for African American, Hispanic, Asian American and Native Americans. The focus of the Minority Tobacco Control Project is on minority youth and young adults who are at risk for tobacco use.

To reach youth in more effective ways, many of the anti-tobacco messages will be heard outside of traditional settings of schools and health fairs. Sporting events, fashion shows, even camping trips, are some of the activities funded to increase awareness of tobacco use dangers at the community level.

Some grant recipients will produce original materials that are culturally specific to a particular minority community. For example, the Apalachicola Band of Creek Indians hosted an Archery Competition with an anti-tobacco theme. To appeal to rural Hispanic youth, the Rural Women's Health Project will produce a "fotonovela" (brochure that tells a story through photographs) on the dangers of tobacco use. In Plant City, an "Anti-tobacco Stomp Jam" Teen Step Show Competition drew youth to multiple community events. In addition, comic books, songs, living history reenactments, musicals, and sculptures, all with anti-tobacco messages, will be produced by other grant recipients, who include artists, music producers and playwrights.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Minority Health administers the project, which was developed by the Minority Tobacco Control Task Force (MTCTF), a statewide advisory group appointed by DOH Secretary, Robert G. Brooks, M.D. The MTCTF's mission is to help empower ethnic minority youth to make informed decisions about tobacco through education and community participation. The Minority Tobacco Control Project is funded by Florida's settlement with the tobacco industry.

For more information on the Minority Tobacco Control Project and a detailed list of all award recipients statewide, contact Elisia Norton at (850) 245-4002.

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