Dyer County campaign against secondhand smoke

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DYERSBURG, Tenn. -- A campaign kicked off in Dyer County alerting people to the dangers of secondhand smoke.

This one focused on smokers who "light up" with children in their car.

The Dyer County Health Department campaign, funded through a Tobacco Settlement Grant, is scheduled to run through May 2016.

The Health Department's unique approach was definitely getting everyone's attention.

"I feel like parents that do smoke, shouldn't smoke in the car with children. Cause that could be a health hazard to them," said Jacinta White from Dyersburg.

White admitted she's a smoker.

Wednesday she stopped at the Tobacco Dock to buy a pack of cigarettes.

But White said due to the dangers of secondhand smoke to her children, she's going to wait before she "lights up."

"Because I have kids that get in the vehicle. Therefore I have to wait till I get home to smoke a cigarette," she said.

Robyn Burns, the Public Health Educator with Dyer County and Lake County Health Departments,  said she hoped more people would adopt White's attitude.

"Since children are in such a small, inclosed area. And they're getting that exposure to smoke," said Burns.

The Dyer County Health Department even bought a giant billboard to help spread the message.

It said,  "Children Prefer the Non Smoking Section. Keep Your Car Smoke Free".

The billboard included a picture of an empty car seat surrounded by a cloud of smoke.

"Secondhand smoke is dangerous to children," said Burns.

There was also a push to reduce the number of women in Dyer County who smoked while  pregnant.

"Here at the Dyer County Health Department we have a new program called Baby and Me, Tobacco Free," said  Burns.

She explained that the program aimed to help expectant mothers stop smoking sooner rather than later,  through a series of counseling sessions.

Expectant mother's who complete the counseling can receive a monthly $25 diaper voucher for the baby's first year.

Reggie Latham said he liked the message the campaign was sending, and he's already careful with where he smokes.

"I don't even smoke in the house. My wife, she don't let me smoke in the house. I smoke outside and I don't smoke in the car, especially with the kids in the car," he told WREG.

There were also a series of radio spots.

To contact the Tennessee Tobacco Quit-Line, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (784-8669)

To get more information on the Baby and Me-Tobacco Free Program, call the Dyer County Health Department at 731-285-7311.