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Tobacco Use: A Threat to Minnesota's Communities

New TV program informs diverse populations about the harmful effects of tobacco use

SAINT PAUL, Minn., Jan. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ClearWay Minnesota(SM) , in partnership with ECHO (Emergency, Community, Health, and Outreach), has created a multilingual television program, The Harm of Commercial Tobacco in Our Community, to educate Minnesota's diverse populations about the dangers of tobacco. The program discusses the seriousness of tobacco use, the targeting of immigrants and ethnic groups by tobacco companies, and the benefits of quitting.

"Even though Minnesota's ethnic communities relate differently to tobacco, the effects of tobacco use are equally harmful to all Minnesotans – regardless of race or ethnicity," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota. "This educational program offers a distinct way to tell the story of tobacco's impact on all Minnesotans and to educate the specific populations that are most at-risk."

According to the latest Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey, approximately 625,000 adult Minnesotans currently smoke and our state loses 5,100 lives each year due to tobacco use. In addition, 77,000 Minnesota youth are current tobacco users and 6,800 kids become new daily smokers each year. Despite lawsuits and increasing regulations, the tobacco industry continues to heavily market its deadly products to both youth and Minnesota's ethnic communities.

"Tobacco's impact and health risks do not discriminate – but tobacco companies do target underserved communities," Willoughby said. "We need to continue strong public policy efforts together with tobacco prevention and smoking cessation services in the communities targeted most by tobacco companies. Partnering with ECHO Minnesota provides an invaluable opportunity to protect the health of all Minnesotans."

To help inform diverse communities in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota areas, The Harm of Commercial Tobacco in Our Community will broadcast in eight languages (English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Vietnamese, Lao, Karen and Khmer), featuring guest experts from each culture having a candid discussion about the dangers of smoking. The program will air on tpt's Minnesota Channel (Comcast Channel 202 or 243, depending on location), and on public stations across Minnesota and online at in January 2013.  

The tptMN broadcast schedule is as follows:

  • English: January 6, 2013, at 7 p.m. with guest experts Brandie Buckless, American Indian Cancer Foundation; and Ora Hokes, Hokes and Associates Consulting
  • Spanish: January 6, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. with guest experts Gloria M. Contreras, Centro Campesino; and Patricia Perez Baker, LAAMPP Fellow
  • Hmong: January 13, 2013, at 7 p.m. with guest experts Thomas Yang, STEEP; and Yer Her, Southeast Asian Youth 4 Change
  • Somali: January 13, 2013, at 7:20 p.m. with guest experts Mohamed Mohamud, Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota; and Saeed Fahia, Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota
  • Karen: January 13, 2013, at 7:40 p.m. with guest expert Saw Morrison, Karen Organization of MN
  • Vietnamese: January 20, 2013, at 7 p.m. with guest expert Cam Le, STEEP
  • Lao: January 20, 2013, at 7:20 p.m. with guest experts Monemany Daoheuang, STEEP; and Sunny Chanthanouvong, Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
  • Khmer: January 20, 2013, at 7:40 p.m. with guest experts Rom Touy, Cambodian Health Educator; and Tonara Hing, Accurate Home Care

ECHO and ClearWay Minnesota will also be distributing 1,000 free DVDs of this program to the community. Community members and service providers can request a DVD by emailing [email protected]. For more information on broadcast times or program information, please visit or

About ECHO Minnesota

Formed in 2004, the mission of ECHO is to leverage partnerships to deliver vital health, safety, emergency and civic engagement information to help the ever‐changing, diverse population integrate and become successful in our communities.

About ClearWay Minnesota(SM)

ClearWay Minnesota(SM) is an independent, non-profit organization that improves the health of Minnesotans by reducing the harm caused by tobacco. ClearWay Minnesota serves Minnesota through its grant-making program, through QUITPLAN® Services and through statewide outreach activities including the LAAMPP Institute, a program that awards fellowships to members of diverse communities for tobacco control initiatives. It is funded with 3 percent of the state's 1998 tobacco settlement.


SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota

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