|ST. LOUIS – A county-level study of tobacco use and associated diseases among Missouri residents is currently under way across the state. The results will lead to the first-ever comparison of progress within counties to reduce the impact of tobacco use on Missourians’ health. Funding for the study of $1.9 million is being provided by the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH).
The telephone study will reach more than 52,000 Missourians and is a partnership of Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH), the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS), ICF Macro International (Macro), and the University of Missouri Health and Behavior Risk Research Center (MU). The study is being conducted in every Missouri county and the city of St. Louis, through 47,200 land line telephone and 4,900 cell phone interviews, making this the largest adult health survey ever conducted in the state and one of the largest in the United States. The study begins in January 2011 and continues for 12 months.
The latest study is a follow-up to a similar one conducted in 2007 when MFH, MDHSS and MU partnered to conduct the first-ever county-level tobacco study in Missouri that reached 50,000 Missourians and was funded by MFH at a cost of $1.4 million. MDHSS again is providing technical oversight and support of the project, including survey design and data monitoring. Macro is analyzing the data for public use. MU again is conducting the telephone-based survey to randomly assess at least 400 residents in each Missouri county and at least 800 residents in counties that include the largest metropolitan areas.
“For the first time, we can begin to understand changes in tobacco use over time, and related health issues among our residents,” said Dr. James Kimmey, MFH president and chief executive officer. “This will be important local-level data for health care institutions and community-based organizations, as well as local governments, community leaders and public health officials. It will support and enhance their programming activities to reduce the negative effects of smoking in a way never before possible.
“The latest study results also will help us see the impact of community-level efforts to date, including the passage of smoking ordinances in several Missouri communities since 2007, communities considering such ordinances in 2011, and school and workplace-based programs to increase awareness of the dangers of tobacco use,” Kimmey added. The current survey will mirror questions asked in 2007, focusing on Missourians’ experience with all tobacco products and any health issues related to tobacco use. MFH plans to release formal reports detailing the study’s findings, and MDHSS will post the study results on its website.
Established in 2000, MFH is the largest nongovernmental funder of community health activities in Missouri. MFH is in its eighth year of grantmaking, having issued nearly $400 million in grants and awards to date. It is dedicated to improving the health of unserved and underserved residents in 84 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis.