On Wednesday, a Blue Zones Project workshop brought together key community stakeholders to learn about best practices in tobacco policy and identify concrete policies and programs to implement in Pottawatomie County.

On Wednesday, a Blue Zones Project workshop brought together key community stakeholders to learn about best practices in tobacco policy and identify concrete policies and programs to implement in Pottawatomie County.

The Tobacco Policy Summit provided an overview of the current tobacco environment and finalize priorities for tobacco policy in Pottawatomie County.

Blue Zones Project Community Program Manager Rachael Melot said the workshop was very conversational-based with lots of group involvement. About a couple dozen were in attendance, representing groups like Avedis, Gateway to Prevention & Recovery, TSET and Tribal Nations, among others.

“We left today having identified six long-term and six short-term goals,”she said.

An example of a short-term goal was discussion on how to eliminate third-hand smoke in certain settings.

One of the long-term goals focused on statewide policy that addresses smoking in vehicles with minors, she said.

“The diverse organizations were able to share ways they have addressed tobacco issues, putting policies into practice, offering ideas about education and ways to eliminate smoking,” she said.

Speaker Richard Killingsworth, chief of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention for the Delaware Division of Public Health, administers key public health initiatives that span issues in cancer, heart disease, diabetes, nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and WIC programs.

Melot said her attention was captured by a particular statement Killingsworth made during the meeting — he said, “Smoking is the only thing — if you use it as directed — that will kill you; and it's legal.”

Killingsworth has advanced public health issues at state and national levels through numerous public, non-profit and private sector roles and has consulted in over 300 communities in all 50 states.

Brought to Pottawatomie County through sponsorship by the Avedis Foundation, in collaboration with Sharecare, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier through permanent changes to a city’s environment, policy and social networks.

To learn more about Blue Zones Project, contact the Blue Zones Project team in Pottawatomie County at (405) 765-8071 or visit www.bluezonesproject.com.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.