The Harford County Health Department announced today that two members of their Public Health Education staff received their National Certificate in Tobacco Treatment Practice from the National Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) and the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependencies (ATTUD). Ms.Linda Pegram and Ms. Dottie Ruff, both of whom also are currently trained and professionally certified by Mayo Clinic as Tobacco Treatment Specialists, provide assistance to persons wanting to discontinue using tobacco products.


Successful candidates must demonstrate evidence of specific education and experience, including successful completion of an accredited Tobacco Treatment Specialist training program and hours of tobacco treatment practice experience following completion of the training. In an October 2017 news release, NAADC described the certification process as “a means of standardizing and unifying tobacco competencies, knowledge, and skills on a national level while providing national, unified recognition of professionals who obtain this prestigious recognition.”

Pictured: Linda Pegram, Health Officer Dr. Russell Moy, and Dottie Ruff
Pictured: Linda Pegram, Health Officer Dr. Russell Moy, and Dottie Ruff

Commenting on their achievement and its importance to public health, Harford County Health Officer Dr. Russell Moy remarked, “We’re very proud of Ms. Pegram and Ms. Ruff for furthering their education to help combat the ever-changing methods of tobacco use in Harford County. Having trained tobacco professionals is imperative to continue educating our community about the dangers of nicotine addiction.”


This month also marks the 10-year anniversary of the implementation of the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act, when on February 1, 2008, nearly all indoor workplaces and public spaces in the state, including bars and restaurants, became smoke-free. Efforts will continue throughout 2018 to commemorate this important milestone and the benefits of clean indoor air.


In a recent Maryland Department of Health (MDH) news release, Health Secretary Robert R. Neall stated, “Maryland has seen significant declines in exposure to indoor secondhand smoke and its related health risks over the past decade”, further acknowledging this change has greatly benefitted the health of all Maryland business owners and patrons without the worry of exposure to toxins from secondhand smoke in public spaces.


In a separate statement, Dr. Howard Haft, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services. added, “Maryland children age 10 and under are our first smoke-free generation. They have never visited a Maryland restaurant, public facility, or workplace where smoking is allowed. The Department is committed to continuing its efforts to further reduce, prevent, and protect Marylanders from the harmful effects of tobacco use.”


The U.S. Surgeon General concluded there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke. Major health risks for children exposed include an increased risk for SIDS, acute respiratory infections, and more severe asthma. Adults experience immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system; repeated exposure could also cause coronary heart disease and lung cancer.


Helpful resources are available both for those seeking to quit smoking or to help others quit, including the Maryland Tobacco Quitline ( 1-800-QUIT-NOW) and tobacco cessation services offered through the Harford County Health Department, the University of MD Upper Chesapeake Health and MedStar Health. For more information contact the Health Department at 410-612-1781 or visit their website at

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