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A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

August/September 2004

To highlight a new law banning smoking within 20 feet of doorways in public buildings, the Tobacco Prevention Project (TPP) and Contra Costa Television have produced a 30-second public service announcement (PSA). Shot in downtown Martinez, the spot will encourage people to call about non-compliance. The PSA will air on ESPN, Court TV, Fox News, Fox Sports and CNN in the next several months. Two focus groups were conducted with employees of the Employment and Human Services department to test the message. Thanks to Lynn Yaney for arranging the focus groups. For more information, contact Dan Smith at 925-313-6833.

The Tobacco Prevention Coalition will distribute its bi-annual survey on tobacco policy issues to candidates and current elected officials in September. The survey polls candidates and officials on a wide range of issues, including secondhand smoke, tobacco sales and signage laws. Once the surveys are tabulated, the Coalition will issue a press release to local media. For more information, call Charlotte Dickson at 925-313-6216.

Ninety-six merchants throughout Contra Costa were publicly thanked by the Tobacco Prevention Project recently for complying with laws about selling tobacco to minors. TPP published a half-page ad in the Contra Costa Times acknowledging the merchants and encouraging the public to report non-compliance.

The Promoting Smoke-Free Families Project (PSFF), a partnership with the Family, Maternal and Child Health Programs funded through First 5, has moved to the Tobacco Prevention Project. The overall purpose of PSFF is to reduce children's exposure to secondhand smoke. Two new staff have joined the project through this partnership. Cherri Gardner, the Promoting Smoke-Free Families Collaborative Coordinator, will be continuing in her role as staff to the Collaborative, as well as developing second-hand smoke educational programs for Collaborative members and First 5-funded projects. Sylvia Taqi-Eddin, formerly staff in the county AIDS Program, becomes the Promoting Smoke-Free Families Training Coordinator. She will develop a cessation and second-hand smoke provider training curriculum to be implemented in four county prenatal clinical care sites. Hear more about the PSFF project at the Collaborative's meeting on Tuesday August 24, 10:30 a.m. - noon at 597 Center Avenue in Martinez. Call Cherri Gardner at 925-313-6463 for more information.

Tobacco Coalition member Laurie Comstock has organized Tobacco Victims' Memorial Day on September 25 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. on the West steps of the Capitol in Sacramento. The event, which includes a walk and a health fair, honors loved ones who have died from tobacco-caused diseases and support those who are suffering from the deadly affects of tobacco addiction. Contact Laurie at 916-686-2043 or lauriscomstock@aol.com.

As of this printing, AB 1569 is still alive but needs support. This bill would prohibit smoking in a vehicle when children, who are required to ride in child safety seats, are present. The cigarette companies are pulling out all stops to kill the proposed legislation. For more information, contact the ALA at http://lungaction.org.

Short Gasp, the newsletter of the Mt Diablo Medical Centers' Pulmonary Rehabilitation program, reports that four members of Congress have launched the COPD Caucus to help those who suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. It's the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. The Caucus will work with the US COPD Coalition to educate members of Congress about COPD and advocate policies to encourage prevention and early detection. The Mt. Diablo Rehab program is asking supporters to send letters to members of Congress asking them to join the Caucus. They would also like organizations to issue supporting statements. For more information, visit http://uscopd.org.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Thursday, September 23, 10 a.m. - noon
Summit Center, 2530 Arnold Drive, Martinez
Special Presentation: Tobacco Industry Marketing

A recent issue of the Acalanes Drug/Alcohol Task Force Update was devoted entirely to tobacco. The local publication, transmitted by email, described a study by Stanton Glantz about smoking in the movies. The UC San Francisco researcher found movie smokers lit up three times more often than real smokers do. He also reported that smoking was more prevalent in movies today than in those made in the previous three decades, even though smoking prevalence in real life has declined significantly. For more information about Update or to be added to the email list, contact Ellen Peterson at 925-284-4612 or email ellenpeterson@comcast.net.

The California Department of Health Services' website tobaccofreeca.org aims to eliminate tobacco everywhere in daily lives. DHS' new campaign, "undo," seeks to rally Californians to support a tobacco-free world and to question an industry which places profit above human life. The site contains downloadable posters, ecards to send to friends to encourage them to quit smoking, help in quitting, message boards and more.

Activists in 15 counties in Nevada are collecting signatures to ban smoking in restaurants, movie theaters, malls, grocery stores and video arcades. They must collect 52,000 signatures by November 9 in order for the initiative to move on to the Nevada State Legislature. If the Legislature fails to pass it, it automatically goes to the voters. For information or to volunteer to help, call Melinda Matris, the Douglas County coordinator, at 775-782-0566.

The U.S. Senate voted recently to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responsibility for regulating tobacco. The legislation, co-sponsored by Sens. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) would: allow FDA to ban advertisements for tobacco products that target children; end vending machine and self-service sales of tobacco products; allow FDA to ban cigarettes flavored with chocolate or other flavors that could promote use among children; increase restrictions to prevent the sale of tobacco products to children; require that health warning labels cover at least 30% of cigarette packs; restrict the use of hazardous ingredients in cigarettes; ban reduced-risk health claims for nicotine products that are not verified; require tobacco companies to provide FDA with a list of all ingredients and additives in tobacco products, as well as new documents related to the health and other effects of tobacco use and more.

A statewide smokefree workplace law covering offices, bars, restaurants, bowling alleys, and bingo parlors went into effect recently in Massachusetts. Ian Lang, chief of staff of the state Department of Public Health, said he expected 95 percent voluntary compliance by Labor Day. Massachusetts joins five other states - New York, Connecticut, Maine, Delaware and California - with statewide smokefree workplace laws in effect. Rhode Island also passed smokefree workplace legislation, but the law doesn't take full effect until next year.

The Copperas Cove (Texas) City Council voted for smokefree workplace legislation for all workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Copperas Cove joins El Paso as the first cities in Texas to make bars smokefree. Several Texas cities have passed smokefree restaurant legislation, including Dallas.

According to AdAge, Connecticut's attorney general, Richard Blumenthal, a lead negotiator in the 1998 tobacco settlement, has offered to reign in anti-smoking ad content in return for the tobacco industry's continued funding. As he urged the national's largest tobacco companies to resume paying $300 million a year into the American Legacy Foundation's anti-tobacco "Truth" advertising project, said he would be willing to "explore" restraints on edgy anti-smoking ads. The four tobacco companies who settled - R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Brown and Williamson Tobacco Co., Lorillard and Philip Morris USA - only had to fund the foundation's efforts if their market share exceeded 99.05% of cigarettes sold. Most payments ceased last year as discount brands gained market share. Two tobacco makers today said they weren't interested in continuing to fund the ads.

With the decrease in funding from Prop 99, we're looking for ways to cut costs. If you are willing to receive this newsletter by email, please let us know. If you want to keep getting this publication mailed to you, tell us that too! (We'd like to know whose reading it!) Email jpeters2@hsd.cccounty.us.

Tobacco companies recruit smokers via direct mail promotions, using contests to get individuals to send in their name and address. For example, R.J. Reynolds introduced its Winston Endless Summer Sweepstakes in many popular magazines such as Rolling Stone. This ad targets young adults with an image of surfers walking along a beautiful beach at sunset. Interested smokers may enter the sweepstakes either by mail or internet at http://www.insidewinston.com or pick up an entry form at participating stores. For more information about the tobacco industry's tactics, contact Tobacco Industry Monitoring Evaluation at 626-457-6647 or email tesscruz@usc.edu.

Contact FYI at 925-313-6214 or e-mail jfreestone@hsd.cccounty.us. This newsletter was made possible by funds received from the Tobacco Health Protection Act of 1988-Proposition 99, under Contract Number 01-7-0, with the California Department of Health Services, Tobacco Control Section.


Content provided by the Tobacco Prevention Project of Contra Costa Health Services.

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