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Tobacco-Free and Eating Healthy Updates from East Hawai‘i

The last three months have been busy for the Hawaiʻi County Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi Island (TFHI) and Healthy Eating + Active Living (HEAL) Coalitions. Let’s dig into some highlights!

One of TFHI’s public outreach efforts this quarter was the installation of smoke-free car banners at six Hawaiʻi county schools. The banners will remind parents and caregivers that smoking in vehicles with keiki is against the law (Section 14-21, HCC). Schools receiving the banners include Keaukaha Elementary, Pahoa High and Intermediate  Schools, Honokaʻa High and Intermediate Schools, Kalanianaʻole Elementary and Intermediate Schools, Ka‘ū High and Pāhala Elementary School, and Chiefess Kapio‘lani Elementary School. The banners will be rotated out to different schools quarterly.

Recruitment for the Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi (CTFH) Youth Council was successful this quarter, thanks to the help of TFHI coalition member, Hamakua-Kohala Health. Jennifer Valera (Hamakua-Kohala Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist) and her tobacco-cessation team recruited eleven Big Island youth to the council! Go, Jen and Team! These youth tobacco prevention leaders attended the August Kickoff of the Youth Council in O‘ahu and received peer-to-peer education and policy training. Upcoming Youth Council events will be held on September 27th and November 5th. 

TFHI donated “Escape the Vape Brochures” to Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi for their 22nd Annual Ladies Night Out. The brochures will be included in six hundred swag bags set to be distributed September 23rd at the Edith Kanakaʻole Stadium from 3:30 PM – 6:30 PM.

East Hawai‘i Island Coalition Coordinator, Jahkotta Lewis, posing with Hui Mālama Ola Nā ʻŌiwi Information and Project Coordinator, Emma Lowry.

TFHI is holding a strategic planning retreat on September 27th to discuss tobacco control and prevention for the upcoming year. The planning retreat will be held at the Pukalani Stables in Waimea and will be facilitated by Dave Nakashima. Mr. Nakashima has over 25 years of experience developing and implementing culturally appropriate and linguistically accessible educational, social, and health services to culturally diverse communities. 

HEAL work this quarter was productive. Here are a few of the projects that were executed or are in progress with our Hawaiʻi County HEAL partners: 

  • Participated in the School Garden Workday for the 5th Annual Hawaiʻi County Food Summit hosted by the Hawaiʻi Island Food Alliance (HIFA).
  • Working with Hawaiʻi County, People for Active Transportation Hawaiʻi (PATH) Blue Zones, Hilo Bay Front Trails on the launch of Trek the Trails. The Trek the Trails event will promote the use of urban trail systems in Hawaiʻi County as a means of garnering a healthy and happy community. PATH and HIPHI assisted Hawaiʻi County in procuring a $125,000.00 TAP grant for the project, which will be implemented in the next three years. 
  • Working with Hawaiʻi County on a Food Systems Action Plan.

To get involved or for more information on Hawai‘i County’s HEAL work or the efforts of Tobacco Free Hawai‘i Island, please contact Jahkotta Lewis, Community Coordinator at  A hui hou!

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