The federal government is sending the Iowa Department of Public Health just over three-million dollars for two programs to help people stop smoking in Ringgold and Linn Counties. Bonnie Mapes, director of the Iowa Division of Tobacco Use Prevention and Control, says the money will fund a two-year program.

Mapes says they are called “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” grants as part of the federal stimulus program. She says only 44 of the grants were awarded. Mapes says they were looking for one metropolitan and one rural county in what was a competitive process in the state for the grants.

Mapes says officials in Ringgold and Linn counties will look at increasing the availability services that help people stop smoking, they will also help educate people on the new FDA regulations, and to promote tobacco free schools. She says the goal is take what they learn statewide.

Mapes says some of the things they can accomplish with these programs they hope to replicate in other counties. She says they have programs in 96 counties now, with much less funding. Mapes says part of the requirement for the grant was that they create jobs. She says are renegotiating the budget as they got a little less money than they asked for, so the estimate is that they will fund 12 positions in Linn County, in Ringgold County two positions and one state position.

Mapes says they are only keeping back $200,000 for the state, as the rest of the money will all go to the counties. Mapes says they are excited to be able to win the funding to build on the success the state has already had in smoking prevention.