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Onondaga County wins grant to help fund anti-tobacco initiative

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Onondaga County is developing a new tobacco prevention initiative with the help of some funding from the state health department.

The county has won a $2 million grant that will spearhead anti-smoking efforts in Onondaga, Cayuga and Oswego Counties. All of those areas have smoking rates substantially higher than the state average, pointing to the specific need for this kind of program in Central New York.  Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said it’s ultimately an issue of poverty.

"We see direct correlations where these tobacco companies are marketing to our poorer neighborhoods and poorer communities," said McMahon. "This is a cycle we have to break, and now we have the grant. Hopefully we’ll make a small impact.”

The Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities initiative will organize a formal coalition on the subject, work to prevent and reduce tobacco marking in retail settings and advertising, and create activities that targeting teens who may be influenced by marketing trends. 

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.