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After surpassing goals in Hidalgo County, Tobacco Prevention & Control Coalition shifts services to Cameron, Willacy counties

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Pictured: The Tobacco Prevention & Control Coalition’s last meeting in Hidalgo County, sponsored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and hosted at the Edinburg Conference Center
Pictured: The Tobacco Prevention & Control Coalition’s last meeting in Hidalgo County, sponsored by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and hosted at the Edinburg Conference Center

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Pharr, TX – When the Tobacco Prevention & Control Coalition was formed in 2013, it set out to accomplish several things, but the main goals were: 1) prevent tobacco use among young people, 2) increase cessation among young people and adults, and 3) eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. By all measures, the Coalition has exceeded expectations in accomplishing these goals. As of the end of August, over 30,000 Hidalgo County middle- and high-school students have received tobacco prevention awareness, the adult smoking rate in Hidalgo County has fallen from about 15% to about 10%, and 20 out of 22 cities in the County have comprehensive smoke-free ordinances—protecting over 583,000 people from toxic secondhand smoke.

Berta Cavazos, Family & Community Health Services Manager with the Texas Department of State Health Services, applauds the Coalition’s successes: “On behalf of DSHS Tobacco Prevention and Control Program in Region 11, I would like to thank the TPCC for all their hard work and accomplishments in Hidalgo County. Over the past 5 years they have truly changed the landscape of this community and as a result Hidalgo County is a healthier place to live, work and visit.  It has been my pleasure working with you!” The Coalition was granted a five-year grant extension, however considering its success in Hidalgo County the focus is now going to be on Cameron and Willacy Counties.

The Hidalgo County TPCC is a coalition effort of Behavioral Health Solutions of South Texas, located in Pharr, Texas. The Coalition was established to empower Hidalgo County to affect individual and social change through cooperation, sharing and coordination of resources focused on preventing and reducing the illegal and harmful use of tobacco products. The TPCC’s goals are to prevent tobacco use among young people, promote compliance and support adequate enforcement of federal, state, and local tobacco laws, increase cessation among young people and adults, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce tobacco use among populations with the highest burden of tobacco-related health disparities, develop and maintain statewide capacity for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control.

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If you would like more information about the Coalition, please contact Rosalie Tristan at 956-232-2300 or email rtristan@bhsst.org. Follow/Like the TPCC on Facebook (facebook.com/unidadtpcc) and Twitter/Instagram (@unidad_tpcc) for the most current news on Coalition events and activities, as well as local, state, national, and worldwide trends on tobacco enforcement and surveillance.

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