Baton Rouge – The Louisiana Department of Health – Tobacco Control Program is encouraging communities in rural Louisiana to apply for grants to help fight tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke.

The Tobacco Control Program has a total of $300,000 in funding that will be used to make nine grant awards. Individual grants will range from $30,000 to $35,000 and will be awarded to non-profit or community organizations which are selected.

Communities can apply for this funding beginning this week when the Tobacco Control Program releases a formal Request for Applications. When applying, the applicant should demonstrate how the grant will help the community accomplish the following:

• Provide education concerning the dangers of tobacco use and how to fight the tobacco’s industry’s influence on youth.
• Create and support smoke-free environments.
• Support and participate in local coalitions that address tobacco control issues and promote cessation. 
• Partner with health care providers that want to provide smoking cessation services.
• Address tobacco-related health disparities in local communities.
“The idea behind these grants is to focus on the rural parishes of the state where the data shows a high incidence of smoking and smoking-related illnesses,” said Matthew Valliere, program manager for the Tobacco Control Program.

“Communities that receive these grants will work hand in hand with our staff to create the most wide-reaching and effective local tobacco control programming possible,” added Valliere. “Grantees will also receive technical assistance and marketing support for their initiatives.”

Alan Levine, LDH secretary, said the rate of smoking in Louisiana is almost four percent greater than the national rate.

 “In Louisiana, there are 750,000 adults who smoke cigarettes, and an increasing number of Louisiana residents are using smokeless tobacco,” said Levine. “The reality is tobacco use is taking a major toll on our state in terms of disease, death and health care costs.”

Community groups wishing to apply for the grants should prepare a letter of intent. This letter must be received by the Tobacco Control Program no later than 3 p.m. on March 28, 2008. The letter must be limited to no more than three pages, with special emphasis placed on programming and services to Louisiana’s rural and undeserved population within the group’s service area. 
More information concerning the community grants and the application process will be available online March 17, 2008 at

The Louisiana Tobacco Control Program is funded through a cooperative agreement from the Centers for Disease Control Office on Smoking and Health.

For more information, contact: 
Jeremy Bridges; 225-342-2654 or