Coastal Carolina University professor Sherer Royce has been awarded a $280,000 grant to help assess tobacco use in Horry County and evaluate the success of local prevention programs. The grant is part of a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to the Horry County BREATHE Coalition.
Royce, an associate professor in the Department of Health Promotion, will also assist with countywide environmental and behavioral change activities regarding tobacco use prevention and dependence for Horry County residents.
Horry and Florence counties were two of 44 communities across the country awarded federal stimulus money as part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work initiative.
"Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States, and we are in grave need of tobacco use prevention programs in this part of the country," says Royce, whose academic expertise is in the area of tobacco use and behavioral habits. "This grant will help us determine if we're making a difference in our preventive efforts."
Royce is charged with:
* Collecting baseline and impact data concerning youth and adult smoking.
* Checking the air quality in restaurants and other public places that allow or have allowed smoking.
* Determining whether medical education curriculum and clinical practice stresses tobacco prevention practices.
* Assisting school, hospitals and municipalities in modeling smoke-free policies.
The grants were awarded to Horry and to Florence counties as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control officials.
Currently, 20 percent of South Carolina adults smoke. However, in Horry County, 29 percent of adults smoke, which is well above the state and national averages.