ASTHMA: Tobacco Tax Grant Will Aid in Prevention Efforts
Six million dollars in tobacco tax money will be allocated to organizations and clinics statewide for the prevention of childhood asthma, the Fresno Bee reports. At a Wednesday news conference at Valley Children's Hospital in Madera, Dr. Eileen Yamada, a pediatrician with the state Department of Health Services, said, "Our main goal is to reach these young children before they go to the emergency room." Asthma is a significant public health concern in the Central Valley. Some 63,000 Central Valley children suffer from the lung disease -- representing one in eight children with asthma in California. Yamada noted, "There's a lot of need for decreasing preventable hospitalizations and emergency room visits and deaths in Fresno County and Central California." Fresno County has the fifth-highest hospitalization rate for children in the state, with 3,438 children admitted to hospitals from 1995 to 1997. The $6 million grant will be distributed on a competitive-bid basis by the state health department to community organizations and clinics to expand asthma prevention, education and treatment for children from birth to age 5. Grant money is derived from a 50-cents-per-pack cigarette tax approved by state voters in 1998 (Anderson, 6/29).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.