THE FEDERAL government is beginning to disburse what will be a total of $135 million for a 7-year program designed to establish grass-roots antismoking coalitions. The American Cancer Society is pitching in with another $25 million to $30 million.
The American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST) is not a study at all, but an attempt to put into action findings from the National Cancer Institute's research studies that have proven the efficacy of methods to help people quit or not start smoking. Contracts have been awarded to 17 state health departments for a total of more than $7 million this year alone.
"This is, quite simply, the largestever national program to combat public health enemy number one—cigarette smoking," said Louis W. Sullivan, MD, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, when announcing the contract recipients at a press conference in Washington, DC.
He predicts that the program will