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Idaho State University

ISU-Boise Professor Awarded Grant for Hispanic Teen Anti-tobacco Campaign

March, 5, 2008

Boise— Idaho State University-Boise professor Galen Louis has received a $240,000 grant from the American Legacy Foundation to help create an anti-smoking campaign targeting Hispanic teenagers in Canyon County. But there’s a twist.

Louis’ research associates won’t be public health experts. They’ll be teenagers from the Nampa-Caldwell area, who’ll decide the most effective way to get their message out.

That makes perfect sense to Louis, who holds a Ph.D. in community health and directs ISU-Boise’s Master of Public Health program. “We’re working from the premise that the community we are trying to reach – Hispanic teenagers -- will have the best answers.”

The teenagers – under the guidance of media, marketing and public health professionals – will create radio spots, buy air time and plan community events targeting young people from ages 12 to 17.  Key to the media blitz will be development of a social marketing campaign to encourage smoking teens to quit and to discourage nonsmokers from lighting up.

Data collected by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control shows that Hispanic teens in Idaho have significantly higher prevalence of tobacco use per capita than their non-Hispanic peers. Statistics show between 1991 and 2005, smoking among Idaho’s white teens decreased while a greater number of Hispanic teens started using tobacco.

Partners working with Louis on the two-year project include TEENS – (Teens Eagerly Eliminating Nicotine Substances) –the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Program.

The Department will provide an additional $40,000 to the $240,000 grant from the American Legacy Foundation, which was created as a result of the November 1998 master settlement reached between attorneys general from 46 states, five U.S. territories and the tobacco industry.