To the Editor:
I think it is important to mention a very important birthday. Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation (ITPC) is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2011.
I was able to attend an event hosted by ITPC at the Indiana Statehouse this past Wednesday. In the last decade the program has helped communities pass legislation to reduce tobacco use in public, lowered the adult smoking rate in Indiana, and aided hundreds of Hoosiers in their efforts to quit smoking through the 1-800-QUITNOW call line.
Despite all of these accomplishments, the celebration at the Statehouse boasted no presence of any Indiana legislator. I saw our own State Rep. Jim Baird walk by the celebration and not even give the gathering a glance of interest.
It would seem to me that with the Indiana budget in so much debate, a program that is working to save the State of Indiana over $487 million in Medicaid costs would be of some interest. I was terrified to see that the accomplishments of ITPC and other tobacco cessation programs are of no concern to any of our legislators.
Despite my disappointment in our government's interest in improving the health and lifestyle of Hoosiers, I was happy to be part of the celebration. ITPC helped work to make Greencastle a smoke-free community and is continuing to do the same for other cities in Indiana.
I am glad the last 10 years have been so successful. I hope the next 10 years will be even better. Happy birthday, ITPC!!!