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FOR RELEASE: May 23, 2002
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Latino Community Development Agency Wins National Grant for World No Tobacco Day

The Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Education Network (H/LTEN), operated by the Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA), received a $2000 grant from The Coalition for World No Tobacco Day to help reach out to the Hispanic/Latino residents for the annual observance of World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) on May 31.

LCDA is an organization that provides health-related, substance abuse prevention services for Hispanic youth. The H/LTEN has been operating for nearly two years on a contract awarded by the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Tobacco Use Prevention Service.

The WNTD activities will focus on about 435 children and youth and their parents who will participate in tobacco-free sports activities including the spring soccer season that will end on June 15. This season will involve 29 teams of children from ages 8 to 16 who will play in different divisions.

The H/LTEN will work to educate parents and youth about the hazards associated with tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. The WNTD grant will help support the collaboration of the H/LTEN and Mr. Jose Sanchez, President of the Oklahoma Youth Soccer Association (OYSA).

“Tobacco use affects our entire community. We are especially concerned about the impact of secondhand smoke on the health of pregnant women, children and those employed where smoking is allowed,” said LCDA Executive Director Pat Fennell. “Receiving a grant for this year’s WNTD activities has helped our community take another step toward becoming tobacco-free,” Fennell added.

Created by the World Health Organization in 1988, WNTD is the first and only global event established to raise awareness of the international impact of tobacco use and promote a tobacco-free environment. To reinforce its commitment to work toward a tobacco-free- world, the Coalition provides seed grants to 52 organizations from 20 states around the country. Applicants were awarded grants to implement initiatives. H/LTEN proposal was selected from among more than 120 applicants.

“We are pleased at the response to this program,” said Reverend Jesse Brown, chairperson for the Coalition for WNTD. “Local organizations play a critical role in spreading the word about World No Tobacco Day, and we were excited to have been able to support a variety of activities all over the country.”

Since 1999, the Coalition has conducted national activities reaching people across the country. Last year, the Coalition reached more than 39 million people through national and local initiatives including a public service campaign with Major League baseball players urging tobacco users to quit and encouraging non-users not to start in observance of 2001 WNTD and the community grant program.

The Coalition for WNTD is a non-profit organization comprised of more than 30 non-profit and for-profit organizations and community leaders, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the Pan American Health Organization. These organizations recognized the enormous losses suffered as a result of tobacco-related disease and death, and decided to unite to bring an end to tobacco use.

For more information about tobacco use prevention programs and services, contact Coordinator Martha Lopez, Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Education Network, at 405/236-0701.

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