County health department reviews tobacco use survey

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees reviewed the results of a school tobacco use survey at its regularly scheduled meeting on Sept. 18.

The survey was conducted during the 2007-08 school year to identify tobacco use behaviors among sixth through 12th grade students. The Exeter, Monett, Shell Knob and Purdy school districts participated in the survey.

According to the survey, an average of 35.7 percent of all students surveyed reported that they had experimented with cigarettes or cigars. Over 75 percent of 12th grade students reported that they had tried smoking.

The survey results also showed that over 25 percent of both 11th and 12th grade students smoked at least once a month, and over 50 percent of all of the students surveyed have a family member who uses tobacco products.

Students were also asked to share information on how they obtained tobacco products. Sixth and seventh grade students who reported using tobacco products said that they stole the products from a store or person. Other students reported that they gave someone money or obtained tobacco products from an acquaintance.

The report also showed that 16 percent of 10th grade students bought the tobacco products themselves.

The health department concluded that tobacco use prevention efforts need to begin targeting students at an early age. In addition to prevention of initial tobacco use, the health department should concentrate on developing methods to prevent students from obtaining tobacco products.

The health department hopes to work with area schools, business owners, law enforcement officials, healthcare professionals, parents and student organizations to address youth tobacco use.

Kathleen King, Barry County Health Department administrator, also presented the board with an updated smoke-free dining guide, which lists food establishments that offer smoke-free dining atmospheres.

The dining guide includes: Aunt Kathy's Cookies, China Express, Deidre's Deli, El Mariachi, Geraldi's, May's Homestyle Meals, McDonald's, Oriental House, Papa Vito's Pizza, Pizza Hut, Subway, Taco Bell and Whitley's Pharmacy, in Cassville; Raspberry Station, in Eagle Rock; The Malt Shop, in Seligman; B&J Smokehouse, Garcia's, Kings River Golf Course, Pizza Hut, Stumpy Burger, Subway and The Steak Inn, in Shell Knob; Cr-Ose Country Cafe, in Washburn; The Bayou Lunch Box, Braum's, Big Baldy's Backwoods Barbecue, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Gambino's Pizza, Happy House, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Lai Lai Chinese, Mazzio's, McDonald's, Monett Family Restaurant and Taco Bell, in Monett.

In old business, the board approved the final draft of the county's food service ordinance, which includes temporary food service permit requirements for businesses.

Non-profit organizations, which are not required to obtain a temporary food service permit, are encouraged to participate in a brief food safety course and display a sign notifying community members that the event and location are not inspected by the health department.

Non-profit organizations include religious groups and organizations that offer community betterment services. Permits will not be issued for private parties or events that serve food from a permitted business.

Businesses and for-profit organizations must apply for a temporary food service permit two weeks prior to the scheduled event. Food safety training and a $20 permit fee will also be required. An annual or mobile permit can be obtained for $40.

Individuals can participate in the health department's food safety course at the health department's office on Main Street in Cassville at 5:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month.

For more information, call the health department office at 847-2114.

In other business, the Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees:

* Directed King to request bids from all of the banks in Cassville. Bids will be reviewed at the Oct. 16 board meeting.

* Tabled a request to give all employees a paid day off on their birthdays.

* Heard that the health department received a $208,148 Women, Infant, Child (WIC) contract that will begin on Oct. 1.

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