The Barry County Connections Coalition (BCCC) is hosting a public awareness meeting on the effects of smoking at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18, at the Monett Health Department, located on Highway 37, south of Monett.
Guest speaker, Delores Joyce, MPA, project coordinator for MSU Ozark Public Health Institute, will deliver the program entitled "Speak Up for Smoke Free Air."
The BCCC was formed in 2007 as an initiative to help improve the health of all Barry County residents. Breathe Easy Barry County later became a sub-committee established to address smoking-related health issues.
BCCC has made several efforts since 2009 to educate county residents on the effects of tobacco, secondhand smoke and the importance of positive role modeling for area youth. One of the organization's goals is to help break social norms around smoking and tobacco use where "young lungs are at play."
Creating a smoke-free environment not only reduces the exposure to secondhand smoke, but has been shown to contribute to less smoking initiation by youth due to the modeling behavior of adults.
In Barry County, abut 26 percent of the adult population uses tobacco compared to the Missouri average of 21 percent. In a 2008 study conducted by the Barry County Health Department, 12.5 percent of middle and high school students indicated they smoked at least once a month and 28.5 percent of smokers were in their senior year of high school.
Light refreshments will be served at this informational meeting. The public is invited to attend. Seating is limited. To make reservations call 354-8686 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations may also be made by texting a first name and "July 18" to 669-4702.