Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Recent News

Visit the Health Department News page

Tribe grant protects youth from tobacco.

Puyallup Tribe of Indians grants more than $600,000 to reduce tobacco use in Pierce County.

Left to right, Board of Health Chair Catherine Ushka, Health Department staff Jessica Alvestad, Director of Health Dr. Anthony L-T Chen, Tribal Council Vice Chairwoman Sylvia Miller, Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud, Tribal Councilwoman Anna Bean, Health Department Program Manager Len Adams, Tribal Councilman Fred Dillon.
Left to right, Board of Health Chair Catherine Ushka, Health Department staff Jessica Alvestad, Director of Health Dr. Anthony L-T Chen, Tribal Council Vice Chairwoman Sylvia Miller, Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud, Tribal Councilwoman Anna Bean, Health Department Program Manager Len Adams, Tribal Councilman Fred Dillon.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians awarded Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department a 1-year, $609,711 grant to help reduce tobacco use among our residents. That amount is up from the already generous $158,664 the Tribe awarded last year.

Tobacco is the top cause of preventable death and disease in Pierce County, the state and the U.S. Our residents have higher rates of adult smoking than the national average.

Tacoma-Pierce County Director of Health Dr. Anthony L-T Chen accepted the grant in person along with Board of Health Chair Catherine Ushka and Health Department staff at Puyallup Tribal Council Chambers on Tuesday, May 30. Dr. Chen thanked the Tribe for its generosity and partnership.

Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud and other Councilmembers also thanked Dr. Chen for his years of service and partnership with the Tribe and blanketed him as an expression of appreciation ahead of his retirement in June.

“We so appreciate having this funding,” Dr. Chen said. “This will help us continue our work with children and youth to help prevent them from getting addicted to tobacco and other vaping products.”

“Last year, we were grateful for the Puyallup Tribe’s generous funding that supported our Escape the Vape campaign. Youth helped create messages and materials that would resonate with their peers. This new grant lets us build on that great work.”

In 2018, the U.S. Surgeon General declared vaping an epidemic among youth. Vaping products pose new dangers and are creating a new generation of people addicted to tobacco and other products.

We focus our work on areas of Pierce County that need it most. Tobacco use is especially high in communities already experiencing health disparities. And tobacco use worsens chronic conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), flu, pneumonia and diabetes. Those conditions—and related preventable hospitalizations—are higher in areas with high tobacco use rates.

The best way to reduce tobacco use is to engage young people before they become lifelong smokers. Tobacco and vaping companies make products that appeal to youth, and heavily market to them.

The grant will allow us to expand our work. Going forward, we’ll be able to:

  • Update our anti-vaping ads, with more input from youth.
  • Serve those ads to youth on social media platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.
  • Provide more translated anti-smoking materials.
  • Fund community partners’ prevention work with youth.
  • Work with more organizations like Chief Leschi Schools and the Indian Education Program at Tacoma Public Schools.
  • Provide social-emotional learning support for youth with things like Mental Health First Aid.
  • Provide emotional-health support materials to help families.
  • Hire staff to make all this happen!

Learn more about the services we offer to help people quit nicotine and tpchd.org/quit. Check out our anti vaping campaign at tpchd.org/escapethevape.

Tribal Councilman Fred Dillon, left, and Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud, right, present Dr. Anthony L-T Chen with a blanket as an expression of appreciation for his years of service and partnership with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians.
Tribal Councilman Fred Dillon, left, and Tribal Council Chairman Bill Sterud, right, present Dr. Anthony L-T Chen with a blanket as an expression of appreciation for his years of service and partnership with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. 

About Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department: Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s mission is to protect and improve the health of all people and places in Pierce County. As part of our mission, the Health Department tackles known and emerging health risks through policy, programs and treatment in order to protect public health. We are one of only 163 accredited health departments in the country and among six in the state to have met or exceeded the Public Health Accreditation Board’s quality standards. Learn more at www.tpchd.org.

Sign up to get news releases in your inbox