TEMPO promotes smoking awareness

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 25, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The Tombigbee Healthcare Authority (THA) announced to youth at the Theo Ratliff Center that Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital has received $27,032.27 from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to implement a tobacco prevention project called TEMPO.

TEMPO (Teens Empowering and Motivating their Peers to Opt-Out) will initially involve youth attending after school and summer programs at the center, and its principle objective is to assist the Alabama Tobacco Prevention and Control Division in implementation of a statewide comprehensive tobacco policy enhancement by focusing on the effects of second hand smoke, particularly on youths. THA in collaboration with the center will build local coalitions, conduct educational activities to raise awareness of the dangers of second-hand smoke and educate communities on the importance of protecting youth from tobacco use.

Marshall said the hospital has seen positive results among its employees&8217; healths&8217; after moving to a smoke-free campus and feels that this program will help spread similar results in the community. Director of the Theo Ratliff Center Edward Ward said the program will also reduce the temptation of youth to use tobacco products after learning about their effects.

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Smith said the program will consist of five separate activities for the children involved. She said the youths will work with local government entities to implement smoking ordinances, and an advisory board will be created, consisting of children, adults and staff, to work with the county.

Along with these parts that provide community interaction for the children, Smith said the group will also be privy to speakers and presentations on the dangers of tobacco use and second-hand smoke. She said the group will also take part in a number of national smoke-free events designed to raise awareness of the issue.