For Immediate Release: June 4, 2024


Media Contact: 

Ben Truman │ Department of Health

802-316-2117 │ 802-863-7280

[email protected]


Health Department Awards Community-Based Tobacco Prevention Grants


WATERBURY, VT – Department of Health has awarded grants totaling $771,500 to nine organizations from communities across the state. The grants will support efforts aimed at reducing the rates of tobacco use, and helping people know the health risks so they don’t start to use tobacco products in the first place. 


The award recipients are Winooski Partnership for Prevention, The Collaborative, Abenaki Circle of Courage, Franklin Grand Isle Tobacco Prevention Coalition, Windham County Prevention Partnership, Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community, Healthy Lamoille Valley, University of Vermont Center on Behavior and Health, and Public Health Response to Research.


Nearly one-quarter (23%) of Vermont adults currently use a tobacco product, and rates of vaping have doubled since 2016. Additionally, 16% of high school students report using electronic vapor products, or vapes, in the last 30 days. Health officials said the growing availability of high strength nicotine products is a public health concern. These products, which often contain chemical flavoring, are heavily marketed to youth, driving the potential for life-long addiction.


“Nicotine is toxic, addictive and hard to quit,” said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD. “Use of tobacco and nicotine products leads to serious adverse health impacts, including heart and lung disease, and learning and behavioral problems among teens,” said Dr. Levine. “These grantees are trusted partners in prevention and treatment education. I’m pleased to have their expertise for the important work supporting people to quit tobacco, and eliminating tobacco as the leading cause of preventable death and chronic disease.”


Grantees were selected, in part, for their strong foundational knowledge of health equity, including the social and commercial determinants of health and their impact on different populations in Vermont. The organizations will center their work around changing the policies, systems and environmental factors that have resulted in the generational injustices that gave rise to tobacco-related health disparities. 


Tobacco Prevention Grant FY25 Awardees


Winooski Partnership for Prevention

In addition to its local work, the Winooski Partnership for Prevention is the designated FY25 statewide local policy lead, providing technical assistance in point-of-sale policy, with a focus on buffer zones around schools and adding conditions to local tobacco licenses. 


The Collaborative

The Collaborative supports local tobacco and nicotine prevention and treatment services across both Bennington County and Windsor County. As the FY25 statewide lead for secondhand smoke policy, The Collaborative will lead both vape disposal and secondhand smoke education and policy initiatives at a statewide level.


Abenaki Circle of Courage

A new tobacco grant partner, the Abenaki Circle of Courage, represents the St. Francis/Sokoki Band of Missisquoi Bay. Their work will strengthen historical knowledge of Indigenous communities’ sacred and ceremonial uses of tobacco through a cultural education program. The Circle of Courage will also support treatment of commercial tobacco use through art therapy services and incorporating sacred tobacco education at its youth summer camp. 


Franklin Grand Isle Tobacco Prevention Coalition 

The Franklin Grand Isle Tobacco Prevention Coalition is based within the Northwestern Medical Center. The coalition focuses on policy, systems and environmental change strategies to support local tobacco and nicotine treatment and prevention throughout the two counties.


Windham County Prevention Partnership

Windham County Prevention Partnership is a long-standing collaboration between Building a Positive Community, Deerfield Valley Community Partnership and West River Valley Thrives. The organization will lead tobacco treatment and prevention strategies throughout the Windham County region. 


Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community

The Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community is a substance use prevention coalition that serves Vermont’s largest city. This grant will support the partnership’s tobacco and nicotine prevention and treatment efforts for individuals and on a systemic level.


Healthy Lamoille Valley 

Serving a primarily rural area of the state, including all of Lamoille County and parts of Caledonia, Orleans and Washington Counties, Healthy Lamoille Valley will draw on its six years of experience to continue local-oriented tobacco-related prevention and treatment efforts. 


University of Vermont Center on Behavior and Health

The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health is an interdisciplinary research center committed to investigating relationships between personal behavior patterns (e.g., lifestyle) and risk for chronic disease and premature death. Its work has historically focused on health disparities, particularly among the socioeconomically disadvantaged where these risk factors are overrepresented. The Center will use this grant funding to focus on improving smoking treatment services for people who are pregnant.


Public Health Response to Research 

Public Health Response to Research Ltd. is a newly formed benefit corporation in Vermont. The organization will work to decrease population harm from nicotine and tobacco use through creative communications strategies. Director Rolf Parker-Houghton served as tobacco program coordinator for Building a Positive Community.


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