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A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

October/November 2004

Want to know where your candidates stand on tobacco issues? The Tobacco Prevention Coalition's annual candidates survey was distributed to 139 candidates for elected office in Contra Costa as well as to 56 elected officials. Among candidates, the rate of return was 27%. The top three issues they favor are supporting enactment of the Tobacco Free Youth Ordinance, full enforcement of Penal Code 308(a) related to sale of tobacco to minors and enforcement of smoke free workplace laws.

Joel White, new Co-Chair of the Tobacco Prevention Coalition, presented Stanford researcher Ellen Fieghery's slides on current tobacco industry marketing strategies at the September coalition meeting. Since the Master Settlement Agreement was signed in 1998, the industry has increased its annual advertising and promotions budget to a staggering $11.45 billion, $1.4 billion for California alone. Before the Master Settlement, the number was $6.7 billion. The industry is heavily concentrating ads at the point of sale and is subsidizing the cost of cigarettes through price specials such as Kool's "Buy 2, One on the House" campaign.

Ellen Fieghery's findings are being substantiated by the Tobacco Prevention Project's site inspections of Contra Costa tobacco retailers. Since July, Charlotte Dickson has conducted (46 inspections in the unincorporated areas of Contra Costa. She's noticed that the amount of window and point of sale advertising in unincorporated Contra Costa has skyrocketed since last year. Product promotions are offered by almost every brand, in every store. Most disturbing is the number of self-service displays, mostly of single cigars, blunts and clove cigarettes. Such displays are outlawed by the Contra Costa County Tobacco-Free Youth Ordinance.

Promoting Smoke-Free Families, a partnership of the Family, Maternal and Child Health Programs and the Tobacco Prevention Project, is offering three training sessions to provide agencies the information and skills necessary to assist their clients with creating smoke-free environments for their children, especially in homes and cars. All participants will be required to submit a training application prior to the training. The training application deadline is October 15. Space is limited to two registrants per agency. The sessions are scheduled for October 26, December 14 and February 22. For more information, contact Cherri Gardner at 925-313-6463.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed three tobacco-related bills recently: Assembly Bill 384 will prohibit the possession of tobacco products by inmates in state prisons and California Youth Authority (CYA) facilities. The law also prohibits the use of tobacco products by any person (staff, visitor, etc.) on the grounds of these facilities except in residential staff housing where inmates are not present. The legislation will go into effect July 1, 2005. Senate Bill 1173 (Ortiz, D-Sacramento) will prohibit the self-service display of non-cigarette products at retail outlets. The legislation will go into effect January 1, 2005 and will cover such products as cigars, pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco and tobacco paraphernalia. SB 1173 builds upon previous legislation that banned self-service sales of cigarettes. AB 3092 increased the fines under Penal Code 308 for failure to post a STAKE Act sign and impacts other provisions relating to illegal sales of tobacco products to minors. This legislation included an urgency clause and therefore the law goes into effect immediately. Fines have increased from $10 for the first violation and $50 for each subsequent violation to $50 for the first violation, $100 for the second violation, $250 for the third violation and $500 for the fourth and each subsequent violation. For more information contact Charlotte Dickson at 925-313-6216.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Thursday, November 18, 10 a.m. - noon
Bay Area Community Resources, 3219 Pierce Street, Richmond
"Addressing Tobacco as a Social Justice Issue in the AAPI Community"
by Reiko Mayeno and Lisa Fu of APPEAL (Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment and Leadership)

Bloomberg News reports that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's smoking tent in his office courtyard at the state Capitol is being blamed in part for the flooding of several rooms in the historic building. Artificial grass that Schwarzenegger had installed under the tent apparently blocked a drainpipe as a rare summer storm dumped more than two inches of rain in less than an hour. The courtyard flooded, sending water under the doors of nearby offices. Schwarzenegger, a cigar aficionado, had the custom tent installed in the center of a suite of offices used by him and his staff. He often meets with legislators and advisors in the 11-by-16-foot khaki-colored canvas tent. Health advocates say they are convinced the action violates California's Law for a Smokefree Workplace.

Meanwhile, Canada moved closer to becoming a smoke free country when the provinces of New Brunswick and Manitoba go smoke free on October 1. Saskatchewan goes smokefree on January 1. The territories of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories went smoke free on May 1, 2004.

And in Connecticut, on the eve of that state's smoke-free workplace law's first anniversary, a new poll shows that 85 percent of Connecticut residents support the law that eliminates smoking inside all Connecticut workplaces, including restaurants and bars. Support extends across party lines throughout the state. The poll also shows 58 percent of Connecticut voters are more likely to vote for a candidate for the State Legislature who supports the smoke free workplace law, while only 11 percent would be more likely to vote against such a candidate.

Don't celebrate yet. In Nevada, where health advocates are trying to scratch out enough signatures for a ballot initiative banning smoking in some public places where children are, one business owner wrote, "I don't want any government agency telling us how to run it...if people feel that second-hand smoke is an endangerment to themselves, they are not forced to patronize those businesses." The writer suggests that transplanted Californians moving to Nevada and trying to change the laws should stay in California. Actually, California's Law for a Smokefree Workplace was passed to protect workers' health.

Meanwhile the latest Surgeon General's Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking, capping 40 years of reports about tobacco, concludes, "Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death." The report says smoking has negative health impacts on every organ of the body. The report, which focuses on active smoking only, implicates smoking as a cause for 10 different kinds of cancer, four cardiovascular diseases, at least six respiratory problems and multiple reproductive effects. The Executive Summary and the full report are available online at http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/sgr/sgr_2004/.

At the time of this mailing, the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) proposed regulation of tobacco products has been eliminated from the corporate tax bill that, among other things, will buy out tobacco farmers for $10 billion. Many health organizations at the national level supported the bill giving FDA the authority to regulate tobacco, among them Tobacco Free Kids, the American Lung Association, American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. But other prominent tobacco advocates opposed the legislation because it did not give the FDA full authority over tobacco and left the authority to Congress to regulate the amount of nicotine and the legal age of usage.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) will no longer give grants or provide other forms of support to university scientists or other researchers who also accept support from tobacco companies or their subsidiaries. Tobacco industry financing for research "has historically been used to confuse public debate, to delay effective tobacco control measures, and to buy the appearance of scientific legitimacy rather than to advance scientific knowledge," the society's board of directors said in a resolution enacting the new policy. At least one other organization, the American Legacy Foundation, has a no-tobacco-money policy in its grant making.

University of California, San Francisco researcher Stanton Glantz has published a paper describing how tobacco and gambling industries work together nationally and internationally to prevent smoke free casinos and gambling facilities and fight smoke free policies generally. Hedging their bets: tobacco and gambling industries work against smoke free policies reports that tobacco industry strategies to mobilize the gambling industry to oppose smoke free environments are consistent with past strategies to co-opt the hospitality industry and with strategies to influence policy from behind the scenes. Glantz says tobacco control advocates need to be aware of the connections between the tobacco and gambling industries in relation to smoke free environments and work to expose them to the public and to policy makers. The full paper is available online at http://tc.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/13/3/268.

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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