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WRITER: MEGHAN NEARY
CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
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Release: Oct. 5, 2000

Pomrehn is elected chair of Iowa tobacco commission

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Paul Pomrehn, M.D., professor in the University of Iowa department of community and behavioral health, was elected chair of the Governor's Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Commission during the group's first meeting Sept. 18.

Pomrehn has worked to reduce the adverse affects of tobacco use for 20 years. His work has included facilitating cessation classes, teaching medical students how to help their patients quit smoking, and performing research in communities and schools to prevent children from smoking.

Last May Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack signed legislation that allocated the entire $55 million in settlement fees Iowa received from tobacco companies to health care initiatives that focus on smoking and substance abuse prevention and access to health care. The tobacco commission, composed of legislators, public health professionals and community representatives, was established to develop and implement the comprehensive tobacco use prevention and control initiative funded by the legislation.

The comprehensive plan the commission will aim to implement includes a number of initiatives including school programs to reduce tobacco use, cessation programs and local enforcement of tobacco laws.

"The bottom line is to reduce premature death and disability due to tobacco use," Pomrehn said.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.