The Montgomery County Tobacco Coalition will hold its first public meeting today, beginning a coordinated effort to stop residents from smoking and vaping.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Montgomery County Youth Service Bureau, 808 W. Pike St.

Forming out of the county’s wellness coalition, the group will introduce a five-pronged approach to reducing tobacco use through promoting comprehensive school policies, raising awareness of tobacco advertising and marketing practices, tackling secondhand smoke in multi-family housing and promoting the state’s “quit line.”

“The biggest priority right now is building the coalition,” tobacco coordinator Autumn Clark said.

Clark was hired through a grant from the Indiana State Department of Health, which assists local communities with enacting tobacco-free policies. The group forms weeks after Crawfordsville banned tobacco use on city property, including parks.

Franciscan Health applied for the grant. Other stakeholders joining the coalition include Purdue Extension, the Montgomery County Health Department and YSB.

Members will soon begin working with local high schools to provide cessation resources for teens that are vaping or using other tobacco products, have become

addicted to nicotine or want to stop.

“A lot of teens don’t actually recognize that Juul is an e-cigarette,” Clark said, referring to the most popular brand of vaping products.

In response to the surge of vaping by students, the state has organized a three-week school assembly tour focusing on the myths of e-cigarettes beginning in late October.

“But we know vaping is not just a teen issue, it’s something we’re seeing in adults even close to the age of 35,” Clark said.

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