New TV Program Spotlights Secondhand Smoke in Minnesota's Diverse Communities

ClearWay Minnesota(SM) and ECHO Minnesota coproduction discusses tobacco's impact in eight languages

Jan 05, 2012, 13:10 ET from ClearWay Minnesota(SM)

MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ClearWay Minnesota(SM), in partnership with ECHO Minnesota, has produced a unique television program warning that secondhand smoke should remain a public health priority for Minnesotans – particularly among Minnesota's ethnic communities.

Secondhand Smoke in Our Communities will air on public television stations across Minnesota, as well as online, beginning January 15, 2012. Each program will feature guests from Minnesota's ethnic communities with a goal of helping all Minnesotans understand the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke. The program will be broadcast in eight languages, including English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, Karen, Vietnamese, Lao and Khmer.

"Secondhand smoke is harmful to all Minnesotans' health, but diverse communities experience some of the greatest harm," said David Willoughby, Chief Executive Officer of ClearWay Minnesota. "Tobacco companies use clever marketing practices to make their dangerous products attractive to these communities. This program offers a distinct way to tell the story of tobacco's impact in all Minnesota and to educate the specific populations that are most at-risk."

Tobacco companies spent nearly $200 million in Minnesota in 2008, targeting people based on factors including income, education level, ethnic background or lifestyle. The report Unfiltered: A Revealing Look at Today's Tobacco Industry gave examples of minority-directed tobacco advertising, and showed that rates of tobacco use among some ethnic communities are greatly outpacing those of the general and Caucasian populations. Additionally, rates of quitting tobacco use can be substantially lower in these communities.

"The impact of tobacco is regressive," said Willoughby, "with our ethnic and low-income populations facing disproportionate risk."

"ECHO Minnesota's television program provides a unique venue for bringing important health information to ethnic communities," said Lillian McDonald, Executive Director of ECHO Minnesota. "Many Minnesotans who speak limited or no English may be unaware of the dangers of secondhand smoke and tobacco use in general. We are pleased to help bridge that information gap."

Nationwide, secondhand smoke is responsible for more than 40,000 deaths in nonsmokers each year from cancer and heart disease. Secondhand smoke contains 11 known cancer-causing poisons and even more toxins.

"Tobacco's impact and health risks do not discriminate – but tobacco companies' marketing efforts do," 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."

Secondhand Smoke in Our Communities is 20-30 minutes in length. It will air on tpt's Minnesota Channel (Comcast Channel 202 or 243, depending on location) and is available any time for streaming at The broadcast schedule is as follows:

  • Jan. 15 at 7 p.m. in English – Guests: Betsy Brock, Association for Nonsmokers, and Cathy Stephens, LAAMPP Fellow
  • Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Spanish – Guest: Patricia Baker, LAAMPP Fellow
  • Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. in Hmong – Guest: Thomas Yang, STEEP Project
  • Jan. 22 at 7:20 p.m. in Somali – Guests: Mohamed Mohamud, Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota, and Saeed Fahia, Executive Director of Confederation of Somali Community in Minnesota
  • Jan. 22 at 7:40 p.m. in Karen – Guests: Rom Touy, Cambodian Health Educator, and Tonara Hing, St. Joseph's Bethesda
  • Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in Vietnamese – Guests: Hien Nguyen, STEEP Project, and Tam Do, LAAMPP Fellow
  • Jan. 29 at 7:20 p.m. in Lao – Guests: Monemany Daoheuang, STEEP Project, and Sunny Chanthanouvong, Executive Director of Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota
  • Jan. 29 at 7:40 p.m. in Khmer – Guests: Misecal Htway, First Karen Baptist Church, and Saysay Eh, First Karen Baptist Church


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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.

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 everchanging, diverse population integrate and become successful in our communities.

SOURCE ClearWay Minnesota(SM)