On March 19, 2010 the Orange County Health Department (OCHD) was awarded a grant of 6.6 million dollars for tobacco prevention and control in our community. This grant award is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative to support public health efforts to reduce obesity, increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and decrease smoking—four critical actions for combating chronic diseases and promoting health.
The $372.8 million, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, was awarded to 44 communities, including cities, towns, and tribes. These communities are receiving awards to implement policy, systems and environmental change strategies over the next two years as one of several initiatives of HHS Communities Putting Prevention to Work.
"The burden of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, strokes, and lung disease threatens to overwhelm our health care systems. An estimated 81 Floridians die every day due to tobacco related diseases, said Dr. Kevin M. Sherin. “The answers in part lie in tobacco prevention programs such as those funded by this grant. Working together as a community we can save more lives."
The competitive funding awards to cities, towns, and tribes across the country will allow communities to support healthy choices among their residents through a variety of methods including increasing the availability of healthy foods and beverages, improving access to safe places for physical activity, discouraging tobacco use, and encouraging smoke-free environments.
Specifically, this initiative in Orange County will work to help make Orlando and Orange County parks smoke-free environments, reduce youth access to tobacco, and encourage physicians to refer patients to smoking cessation programs.
“As the Director of the Orange County Health Department I am keenly aware of the significant impact smoking and exposure to second hand smoke can have on the health of individuals. A 2010 report published by the Institute of Medicine supports the strong connection between second hand smoke and cardiovascular disease. We know that approximately 130 people die in Orange County each year from needless exposure to secondhand smoke. The Orange County Health Department in collaboration with community leaders will work over the next two years to ensure that, collectively, we take a step forward to improve the quality of life for our community and continue to save lives.”
--Kevin M Sherin, MD, MPH, Director, Orange County Health Department
- As the 5th largest county in the state of Florida, Orange County has a population of 1,115,204.
- Over the past 30 years, the population of Orange County has grown 160.0%. Just from 1990 to 2000, Orange County experienced a population increase of 33.3%.
- With a diverse population, 50% of the residents are White, 21% Black, 25% Hispanic, and 4% Asian/Pacific Islander. The Black and Hispanic population percentages (21% and 25%) are higher than the statewide percentages of 16% and 21% respectively. Approximately 32% of Orange County residents speak a language other than English at home.
- The majority of Black, Hispanic, and medically-underserved populations in Orange County reside in the following zip codes: 32805, 32807, 32808, 32811, and 32839 where the 2006 per capita income for residents ranges from $13, 871 to $18,674. Also levels of uninsured are much higher in these areas some as high as 25.9%.
- Approximately, 12% of the population lives below poverty; and 16.7% of the population living below poverty are less than 18 years of age.
Community Health Problems
- Data from 2002 show that 21% of Orange County adults smoke, and data from 2007 indicates that 17% of Orange County high school students smoked.
- 18-44 year olds are the age group with the largest number of smokers in Orange County and represent 22.1 % of smokers compared to the state's percentage for the same age group of 15.1 %.
- In addition, 60.1% of high school students surveyed in Orange County report exposure to second hand smoke. Data from 2007 revealed that 77.2% of middle school students reported living in homes where smoking was allowed thereby increasing their exposure to second hand smoke; and 2008 data shows that secondhand smoke exposure for adults in the county were at 16.4%, higher than the state at 14.9%.
- In 2007 the top two leading causes of death were cancer and heart disease respectively.
- Age adjusted death rates (AADR) for Cardiovascular Disease (2006-2008) is significantly higher among minority populations than the overall population. Cardiovascular disease AADR among Blacks in Orange County (247.3/100,000 population) is significantly higher than both County and State rates (229.5/100,000 and 209.9/100,000, respectively).
There is a strong history of forging partnerships and developing coalitions to improve the health of Orange County residents. The County is comprised of very active and influential partners experienced in policy development and implementation. Additionally, partners represent a diverse network of public, private, foundation, government, not-for-profit, and planning organizations that consistently network through multiple affiliations on councils, partnerships and other influential groups to support policy change.
- Partnerships and coalitions across the state successfully worked to get two Constitutional Amendments signed into law including Smoke-free Workplaces in 2002 and 15% of the annual tobacco settlement funding going to tobacco prevention in 2006.
- The local program will also build on substantial strides in tobacco policy changes made at the state level including smoke free air in restaurants, authorization of tobacco settlement funds to support tobacco prevention in youth, and the increase in tobacco products sales tax, all of which apply throughout Florida.
Currently, 130 community residents die in Orange County each year from needless exposure to second-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke causes complications for those that don’t smoke but are exposed to it: especially those that must work around the smoke daily. According to recent research findings, 5 minutes of exposure to second-hand smoke, (SHS), is equal to smoking one cigarette. After 120 minutes of SHS exposure, there is a much higher risk of irregular heartbeat which could lead to a heart attack. Individuals who find themselves in the unfortunate situation to have to pursue their subsistence by working in an environment that do not enforce the Indoor Air Act of 2003, are at risk of developing conditions that are, by modern day standards, preventable. There are currently 22 states around the nation that have adopted comprehensive smoke-free laws to safeguard the quality of life of their citizens, however, Florida is not one of them. The Orange County Health Department, in collaboration with community partners, is working to ensure that all county residents, regardless of socio-economic status and/or industry, have access to a safe environment that values and supports their pursuit to a good quality of life.
The all in board is comprised of high-level community leaders representing various industries and organizations in Orange County who are working towards a common goal of improving the health of our residents by reducing tobacco use. The board will accomplish this by:
- Developing policies and making recommendations to the highest levels of policy and decision makers
- Educating and empowering community resources to more effectively meet the needs of the people in Florida
- Providing leadership, expertise and accountability to ensure change in policies, systems, and enviroments as it relates to health
The all in board is committed to policy, system, and environmental changes related to Florida's health.
The all in coalition is comprised of individuals and businesses who want to partner with us to improve the health of Orange County residents and visitors by reducing tobacco use in our community. The coalition will accomplish this by:
- Providing a forum for all agencies, programs, committees, consumers, concerned citizens, and individuals to meet collectively in the best interest of Florida's health.
- Encouraging grass roots efforts and creating momentum that the community can build on
Anyone is welcome to join the coalition. Persons interested in joining should complete the membership form and commit to attend quarterly meetings. Coalition members are invited to serve on various board subcommittees. For more information, please call 407-558-0460.
Coalition Membership Form (PDF 31kb)
For more information you can contact our office at: 407-558-0462 or visit http://allintohealth.org
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