Two Maui Groups Get $150,000 Each for Tobacco Prevention

Two organizations in Maui County are among a list of the latest recipients to receive grant money from the Hawai’i Tobacco Prevention & Control Trust Fund.

The Lanai Community Health Center and Maui Family Support Services were awarded grants of $150,000 each over two years.

The funds are part of a larger, nearly $1 million in tobacco cessation community grants, awarded by the Hawai’i Community Foundation to a total of eight organizations throughout the state.

In Hawai’i, tobacco use claims the lives of 1,100 residents each year and costs the state $336 million annually in direct medical expenses, according to studies referenced by the Hawai’i Community Foundation.

The grants are aimed at developing and delivering cessation intervention programs specifically designed for low socioeconomic level tobacco users. The organizations were selected because of their ability to integrate cessation services into existing programs, and/or to design unique intervention to reach target populations.

The Lanai Community Health Center is the only health care provider on the island that serves residents who are uninsured or under-insured.

The LCHC is also the only federally qualified health center on the island, tailoring services to residents of low socioeconomic status.

The grant will allow the LCHC to add more intensive cessation interventions and support efforts to sustain services.

The Maui Family Support Services will use its grant funds to train staff, enhance infrastructure, and fully integrate cessation services into its existing service offerings.

The MFSS serves residents of low socioeconomic status and has been providing services to families in Maui County for more than three decades.

These new funding adds to cessation grants awarded in 2009 to address tobacco use throughout the State. Other recipients this year include:

  • American Lung Association of Hawaii, Freedom from Smoking Program: $150,000 over two years;
  • Waianae Coast Community Health Center, Ka Ha Ola (The Breath of Life): $150,000 over two years;
  • West Hawai’i Community Health Center, Comprehensive Tobacco Free Support in Collaboration with HOPE Services: $150,000 over two years;
  • Kokua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, Sa Suu – Community Voices Leading to Community Action on Tobacco: $50,000 over one year;
  • Signs of Self, Smoking Cessation Program for Hawaii’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing: $26,300 over one year;
  • The Queen’s Medical Center, Smoking Intervention Guided Healing program: $150,000 over two years.

“Over the years, because of the commitment to invest Trust Fund resources in tobacco cessation programs, countless lives have been saved and youth and adult smoking rates in Hawai’i have decreased,” said Jennifer Schember-Lang, Hawai’i Community Foundation senior program officer.

Schember-Lang notes that despite this success, tobacco still causes more preventable disease, death and disability in Hawai’i than any other health issue.

“Now more than ever, there is great need to continue funding programs to help our residents quit tobacco,” she said.

By Wendy Osher

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