Ochsner's Tobacco Control & Prevention Program, started in early 2012, is a resource of knowledge about tobacco including best practices for cessation, the newest products, and the future of Big Tobacco. The program regularly partners with area schools to provide educational materials and support, as well as with community organizations like the YMCA, Red Cross, and Jewish Community Center. It also works with various groups during national events like Kick Butts Day and No World Tobacco Day. The Tobacco Control Program attends health fairs, corporate wellness events, and school events to continue reaching out to the community and to promote the Louisiana Quitline and other aids to cessation.
- Assisted the City of Hammond in gaining designation as the World Health Organization's 69th International Safe Community, the first in Louisiana and 16th in the U.S.
- Assisted the Tangipahoa Parish School System in adopting a 100% Tobacco-Free School Policy
- Wrote a comprehensive $10.5 million plan to reduce tobacco use in youth, pregnant women, and parents that smoke with children, as part of a four-year grant with the FDA – funded projects will be announced March 2013
- Produced educational programs for children ages 3-18, working with coalitions in DHH Regions 1 (Southshore) and 9 (Northshore) to develop relationships and create interest
- Handed out more than 10,000 educational and Quitline materials to individuals, schools, clinics, and hospitals in Regions 1 and 9
- Educated more than 3,000 adults at health fairs, corporate events, and school events on the dangers of tobacco, Big Tobacco's deceptive marketing strategies, and how to quit
- Presented to over 1,100 school children on tobacco prevention, second-hand smoke, and Big Tobacco practices
Current & Future Projects
Going forward, the Tobacco Control Program will continue to expand and develop its efforts to control and prevent tobacco use. Major planning has gone into establishing the free Ochsner Tobacco Cessation Clinic, which is currently in a pilot program and to be funded by Louisiana's Smoking Cessation Trust. The clinic aims to see over 1,000 people enter its cessation program by the end of its first year of full operation.
The Tobacco Control Program's current goals for Louisiana are for St. Bernard Parish Schools to adopt a Tobacco-Free School Policy, for charter and private schools in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes to adopt Tobacco-Free School Policies, and to expand its reach to DHH Region 2 (Baton Rouge area). All these efforts will support the ultimate goal of seeing an overall trend in Louisiana of reduced tobacco adoption amongst youth and increased cessation among adults. Ochsner will continue to work with the Institute for Wellness and Health Policy to promote health policies that will improve quality of life for the citizens of Louisiana.