Community Profile: Linn County, Iowa
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Tobacco Use Prevention
“THESE ORDINANCES ARE ABOUT OUR KIDS AND THEIR FUTURES. WE HOPE INTERESTED LINN COUNTY RESIDENTS WILL…LEARN ABOUT HOW WE CAN HELP PREVENT OUR KIDS FROM BEING INTRODUCED TO NEW DISSOLVABLE AND SMOKELESS TOBACCO PRODCUTS.”
— Jill Roeder, Project Manager, CPPW
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“ONE OF OUR EMPLOYEES THANKED US FOR BECOMING A TOBACCO-FREE WORK SITE. A SINGLE FATHER OF THREE HAD ALWAYS WANTED TO QUIT AND HAD THE SUPPORT AT HOME, BUT NOT THE SUPPORT AT WORK – NOW HE HAS THE SUPPORT HE NEEDS ALL DAY TO QUIT AND IS SO FAR SUCCESSFUL!”
— Rhonda Welper, Employer, Raining Rose
Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) is an initiative designed to make healthy living easier by promoting environmental changes at the local level. Through funding awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010, a total of 50 communities are working to prevent obesity and tobacco use—the two leading preventable causes of death and disability.
Linn County, Iowa, is tackling tobacco use throughout the community. Iowa is a smoke-free state, and Linn County residents do not experience secondhand smoke in public places or workplaces. However, tobacco use is still a concern in this county of 211,226 residents. Approximately 17% of adults are smokers, with more than three-quarters of them smoking every day. Additionally, 4% of adults use smokeless tobacco products, such as chewing tobacco, dipping tobacco, or snuff, 4% smoke cigars, and 1% smoke pipe tobacco. Approximately 15% of 11th grade students smoke cigarettes. In addition to tobacco use prevention efforts aimed at Linn County's entire population, certain initiatives have a special focus on middle-class families that are highly targeted by the tobacco industry.
If healthy options are not available, then healthy living is not possible. With the support of the CPPW initiative, Linn County has implemented a variety of changes throughout the community to make healthy living easier.
To decrease tobacco use, Linn County:
- Offered free tobacco cessation resources to all workplaces that participated in the 2011 Healthy Worksite Wellness Awards. These awards recognize workplaces that create and maintain physical and social environments that are supportive of employees' health.
- Implemented the Ask, Advise, Refer model, a program designed to promote tobacco cessation intervention by dental hygienists at Kirkwood Community College, impacting approximately 10,000 students who visit the college clinic each year. Kirkwood is the first college to do this in Linn County, setting a standard for other local colleges.
- Adopted a tobacco dependence treatment plan for the Hands Free Clinic. This plan involves assessing every patient, which includes an estimated 2,000 low-income individuals annually, for tobacco use and referring users to the state quitline.
- Adopted guidelines to facilitate tobacco cessation among Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
- Started efforts to support the elimination of free sampling and buy-one-get-one-free deals for tobacco products. An endeavor also is underway to prevent dissolvable tobacco products, that look like candy, usually in the form of an ingestible tablet or strip from entering the market.
(The list above is a sample of all activities completed by the community.)
Local high school students are raising awareness of the dangers of tobacco use, with a focus on smokeless tobacco use, through a peer-to-peer initiative, Don't Start With Me. Tactics for this initiative include engaging peers through the placement of photo booths at teen-oriented events and hosting photo contests for local adolescents. Additionally, local teenagers were given the opportunity to share their stories about the importance of tobacco-free living through a series of viral videos. Since April 2011, Don't Start With Me has reached 763 Facebook "likes," 907 monthly active users, and more than 10,000 posts.
The leadership team includes high-level community leaders from multiple sectors, who have the combined resources and capacity to make healthy living easier. Members of Linn County's leadership team are key agents for change in their community. The leadership team includes representatives from the following organizations:
- American Cancer Society
- Area Substance Abuse Council
- Care Pro Health Services
- Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce
- Cedar Rapids Council
- City of Central City
- City of Fairfax
- City of Palo
- City of Springville
- City of Walker
- Community Health Free Clinic
- deNovo Marketing
- Freedom Festival
- Hawkeye Area Community Action Program
- Health Solutions
- Hiawatha Police Department
- Iowa State Government
- Kirkwood Community College
- Linn Community Care Clinic
- Linn County Sheriff's Office
- Linn Mar Schools
- Lisbon Police
- Marion Independent School District
- Marion Police
- Mercy Hospital
- Midwest Metal
- Schneider Electric
- Shuttleworth & Ingersoll
- Springville School District
- True North
- Page last reviewed: October 25, 2013
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