The Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. (ILI) was founded as the result of a need to address the growing health issues caused by the use of Tobacco products among Latinos nationwide. Thanks to The National Latino Council on Alcohol and Tobacco (LCAT), Indianapolis was the first city in the United States to have a state wide Latino Forum for Tobacco Control. In fact, the first major emphasis in which ILI concentrated its resources was Tobacco Control, and continues to be a major focus today. The need for a tobacco control program arose because there were almost no tobacco education and prevention programs that were culturally and linguistically appropriate for Latinos until 2001. At that time, a comprehensive tobacco control program was truly vital in Indiana because the smoking rate was the third highest in the nation, and Latinos in Indiana had higher smoking rates than Latinos nationwide. Thus, the Indiana Latino Institute, Inc. became the lead agency for the Indiana Latino Tobacco Control Coalition.
TOBACCO PREVENTION EDUCATION
Each Latino community in Indiana has within it a diverse population. ILI feels that members of local communities understand best their own needs and THE characteristics of their unique situations; therefore ILI facilitates training and supports local community members so that they may reach out to Latinos in their communities. Currently we have a presence in 6 counties throughout Indiana: Hamilton, Lake, Marion, Porter, St. Joseph, and Tippecanoe. Our main focus areas are: Protecting Hoosiers from exposure to Secondhand Smoke, Reducing Youth Initiation and Access to Tobacco, and Promoting and Using Cessation Resources.
PREVENTING SECONDHAND SMOKE EXPOSURE
The Surgeon General’s recent report clearly highlighted the real dangers of secondhand smoke. Americans for Non-Smokers’ Rights has also highlighted the fact that Latinos are much more likely to have service and restaurant industry jobs where they are exposed to secondhand smoke. Because of these factors, our local partners not only work to support clean comprehensive air ordinance, but they also work to establish smoke free businesses. Our focus has not only been on Latino owned businesses, but also in businesses where Latinos are employees and/or frequent customers. Over 200 Latino worksites in Indiana have gone smoke free. ILI understands that the addiction to nicotine is an illness and we want to help and support the smokers that wish to quit and live healthier lives.