AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - A failing grade in one category for the state of Texas does not reflect the grade here in Amarillo.
The American Lung Association has decided Texas gets an "F" for various smoke-related categories. But Amarillo is a different story.
That's what the Lonestar state gets when it comes to grading of smoke free air, access to cessation services, tobacco taxes and tobacco prevention funding. But Mary Coyne with Tobacco Free Amarillo says this does not reflect services here.
"I really think that Amarillo is very lucky when it comes to smoking. We used to have a very high rate of smoking in Amarillo and it's still higher than we would like for it to be, but it has come down a lot and a lot of people have come to realize that second-hand smoke is really bad for our health and that we should not allow that in our workplaces," says Coyne.
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States...and the American Lung Association says funding for prevention programs is key.
"Fortunately the Amarillo Hospital district provides funding for this project and it's a very good amount. It's $500,000 a year for this program and that money comes from the federal government and we really have been fighting a high level of tobacco use in Amarillo," says Coyne.
When Tobacco Free Amarillo launched in 2001, they found that 48 percent of 12th graders had smoked a cigarette in the past 30 days. Today, that rate is down to 22.6 percent....a feat they hope will now carry on to the entire state.
"It's a terrible health problem, it's a terrible health problem and we need all the help we can get to keep tobacco away from our children and to not smoke around them."