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Tobacco-Free report shows gains in succession

“We continue to make progress in our efforts to reduce smoking,” said Miranda H. Spitznagle from the Indiana Department of Health. She made a report to LaGrange County Commissioners at a meeting Monday morning.

Her report detailed the fact that LaGrange County’s population of 37,128 is predominately white with 1,317 being Hispanic and 117 African American. At least a portion of her data is according to the Centers for Disease Control which says that tobacco costs every citizen in Indiana $740 per year for a total of $4.8 billion.

A total of 5,424 adults smoke in LaGrange County and there are 50 births that are affected by smoking. Smoking causes low birth weights, SIDS, and reduced lung function. Statewide, 16.6 percent of pregnant women smoke but only 6.9 percent of pregnant women smoke in LaGrange County.

LaGrange County reports 56 deaths attributable to smoking; seven deaths are attributed to secondhand smoke, and 1,117 related illnesses are related to smoking. The LaGrange County economic burden of secondhand smoke has been set at $2.2 million a year.

Local Tobacco-Free Coordinator Greg Johnson said that the county is a leader in that a local ordinance bars smoking within 25 ft. of a door leading into a county-owned building or within the confines of a county-owned vehicle. State law limits smoking within 8 ft. of a door for business establishments and prohibits smoking in workplaces.

LaGrange County receives $31,889 in annual funding from the State of Indiana. The Center for Disease Control recommends that Indiana government spend $78 million each year on tobacco prevention and control programs. Actual spending in Indiana is only $6.4 million.