Truth Initiative® awarded grants to seven youth-serving groups in Tennessee to help raise awareness about the benefits of smoke-free environments and reduce secondhand smoke exposure throughout the state, which has one of the highest smoking rates in the country.

Tennessee is one of a group of states in “Tobacco Nation,” a region in the U.S. that stretches from the upper Midwest to the South and has smoking rates that exceed not only the national average, but that of many of the most tobacco-dependent countries in the world. It is also one of the nearly two dozen U.S. states and territories not protected by comprehensive smoke-free laws, which means more than 42 percent of the total population is unprotected. Smoking remains permitted in adult-only (ages 21 and over) restaurants and bars in Tennessee.

Each group received a Clear the Air Tennessee grant to educate youth and young adults and raise public awareness of the issue of secondhand hand smoke and smoke-free environments as well as increase the number youth and young adults who are advocating for smoke-free environments in Tennessee.

Youth leaders from each group will develop and lead educational efforts to build a smoke-free movement, including training peers and organizing multiple events leading up to World No Tobacco Day.

Clear the Air Tennessee grantees include the Dyer County Health Department, ASAP of Anderson County, Pearl-Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School, Lauderdale County Health Department, Carter County Drug Prevention, Independent Youth Services Foundation and the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department.

Clean indoor air laws reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, which is a known carcinogen. In addition to protection from secondhand smoke exposure, studies indicate that smoke-free homes and workplaces encourage smokers to quit and reduce the number of cigarettes they consume per day.

For more information about Clear the Air Tennessee, please contact LaDonna Ellis at [email protected] or (202) 454-5555.

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