XENIA — Greene County Public Health staff is working to decrease tobacco use and secondhand smoke across the county.

Oct. 17 will mark the first anniversary of Tobacco 21 in Ohio.

“Tobacco 21 was established to make the legal age for purchasing of tobacco products 21 instead of 18. Nearly all smokers start as kids or young adults, and these age groups are heavily targeted by the tobacco industry,” GCPH officials said in a release. “Increasing the age at which youth can buy tobacco to 21 prevents young people from ever starting to smoke and reduces the deaths, disease and health care costs caused by tobacco use.”

GCPH is a recipient of and manages the Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program grant from the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). The program promotes healthy outcomes in adults, children, and babies by limiting the effects of tobacco and tobacco smoke by taking steps to lower smoking rates.

Since Tobacco 21 was implemented a year ago, GCPH continues the work to decrease tobacco use and secondhand smoke across Greene County. During this grant year, the agency will focus on efforts to address the inequitable burden of tobacco on individuals with a low socioeconomic status (SES).

“The largest disparities in smoking rates are seen when we break down current smokers by income,” GCPH officials reported. “According to the latest Greene County Community Health Assessment, 21 percent of those making $25,000 or less annually reported currently smoking, while only 6 percent of those making over $25,000 annually reported smoking.”

The CDC states that “lower-income populations have less access to health care, making it more likely that they are diagnosed at later stages of diseases and conditions and that low SES populations are more likely to suffer the harmful health consequences of exposure to secondhand smoke”.

GCPH has worked with multi-unit housing and schools to pass non-smoking policies. Currently, almost every school in Greene County has a 100 percent tobacco free policy per ODH standards, the release stated.

Those interested in learning more about how to get involved, or how to quit tobacco use, can contact Kristianna Williams at [email protected] or 937-374-5655.


Staff report