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The Louisiana Public Health Institute offers grants to help reduce tobacco use in specific communities

MONROE, La. (KNOE) – The Louisiana Public Health Institute has opened applications for this year’s funding round to reduce tobacco use in African American and rural communities.

The project started in 2019 and is called Addressing Systemic Inequities to Reduce Tobacco (ASIRT). Jennifer Haneline, the regional director of the Louisiana Public Health Institute, says there are clear correlations between income levels and smoking. She says the goal of this project is to focus on the systemic issues that drive people to use tobacco.

“We have systemic inequalities, so there are reasons people are addicted to nicotine,” Haneline says. “Mental health is a big issue. Stress is tremendous and we tend to see higher rates of smoking in our low-income communities.”

According to Haneline, statistics show that 34% of Louisians making less than $25,000 a year smoke, 21% of Louisians making $25-50,000 a year smoke, 15% of Louisians making $50-75,000 a year earn, and only 7% of Louisians who smoke more than $75,000.

“We want to tell our communities, who are most affected by health inequalities, that we care. We’re investing money in these communities to really try to improve their health so they can live longer,” Haneline says.

Haneline also says they encourage creativity when it comes to using this grant, and they hope communities will consider how this grant can most beneficially be used to reduce tobacco in those areas.

They encourage community leaders and organizations in Ferriday, Jonesville, Lake Providence, Tallulah, Delhi and Bastrop to apply for the grant.

Partnership grants of up to $20,000 are awarded to community-based organizations. Rural health clinics and state-qualified health centers can receive up to $10,000.

Application deadline is December 21st.

You can apply at