L.A. County launches anti-smoking campaign

LOS ANGELES It will include several policy-based initiatives and social services, as well as a high-profile and highly targeted media campaign to support a broad range of tobacco control efforts in order to raise awareness of free and low-cost resources that would help smokers quit.

Officials said these tactics will aim to reduce secondhand smoke exposure, discourage tobacco use, strengthen youth smoking prevention efforts, and increase access to and utilization of effective tobacco cessation services.

The campaign will be funded by a federal stimulus grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and the /*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention*/.

/*L.A. County*/ is one of 44 communities across the nation to receive funding from the highly competitive initiative and is the largest grant recipient, receiving $16.2 million for tobacco prevention and $15.9 million for obesity prevention, for a total of $32.1 million.

While the overall smoking rate for L.A. County, at 14.3 percent, is substantially lower than the national average, there are still more than one million adults and adolescents in the county who still smoke, officials said.

Residents who are currently addicted to tobacco, have already quit or want to help a friend or relative get rid of the addiction can call 1-800-NO-BUTTS. The free and confidential telephone counseling service has proven to double a smoker's chances of successfully quitting. The service also assists those trying to quit chewing tobacco and has experts to help teens quit.

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