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A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

February/March 2005

More than 25 people attended the January Tobacco Prevention Coalition (TPC) meeting to hear presentations about secondhand smoke in tribal casinos. Among the speakers were Deborah Sanchez and Kathleen Jack, members of the American Indian Tobacco Education Partnership (AITEP), a Prop 99 funded organization associated with the California Rural Indian Health Board that is working on smoking in casinos statewide. They emphasized the importance of respecting Indian sovereignty and working with tribal governments and casino managers. Theresa Boschert of BREATH, the California smoke-free bars, workplaces and communities project, reminded the group that no workers' health - whether American Indian or not - should be compromised by secondhand smoke. Erin Gabel, Deputy Chief of Staff for Supervisor John Gioia, reviewed the proposed San Pablo Casino expansion and the mechanism for public input. A TPC work group meets March 4 from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. to discuss next steps the TPC can take to address smoking in the San Pablo Casino. For more info, call Charlotte Dickson at 915-313-6216.

Speaking of smoke-free gaming, the City of Concord has ordered Blue Devils Bingo to go smoke-free immediately. The bingo hall is located in the headquarters of the Blue Devils, a non-profit youth organization, meaning employees are present during the day and during the bingo games. California's Smoke-Free Workplace Law, LC 6404.5, clearly states prohibits smoking in any location where employees are present at any time. The Blue Devils is cooperating fully with the City of Concord.

Charlotte Dickson, the Tobacco Prevention Project's Policy Coordinator, shared the podium with long time anti-tobacco activist and public health advocate Mark Perschuk in Sacramento on February 9. The two spoke at the plenary session of a meeting on enforcing tobacco retailer licensing ordinances. Charlotte emphasized the points that youth and tobacco prevention coalitions are the key constituencies in any licensing program, and that they must be involved in developing and implementing ordinances.

The tobacco control movement lost a long-time activist this month with the death of Contra Costa resident Dave Jenne. For more than a decade, Dave came to City Council meetings and Board of Supervisors' hearings to urge passage of clean indoor air ordinances. He visited schools to talk about how tobacco had destroyed his health and his career, forcing him into early retirement. He will be missed for his commitment and his very positive attitude in the face of staggering challenges.

Acalanes Drug/Alcohol Task Force Update, edited by Ellen Peterson, devoted its February edition to tobacco issues, starting with a quote from the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors, who began a recent meeting by saying: "The Board of Supervisors has a very short fuse when it comes to tobacco sales to minors." The update covers continued tobacco advertising targeting youth. It also points out that of the $3,157 average amount received by gas stations and convenience stores from product promoters each year, 78% comes from tobacco companies.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Thursday, March 17, 2005, 10 a.m. - noon
Tobacco Retail License Ordinances

Video on licensing featuring Contra Costa County
Embargoed copies of the Coalition's Policy Paper on Tobacco Retailer Licensing
Tips on how to take action
IBEW Local 302 1875 Arnold Drive Martinez, CA
For information and to RSVP call 925-313-6214

The Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Education Partnership continues its Regale Salud campaign to protect children and families from secondhand smoke. In the past three years, by engaging tenants throughout the state, the project has gotten eight apartment complexes to develop policies on smoke-free homes. For the next three years, the project will focus on apartment complexes and small workplaces exempt from state laws. For more information, call Marisol Romero at 626-457-6608 or email maromero@usc.edu.

The World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) entered into force on Sunday, February 27, 2005. This represents a historic moment in public health, as the Treaty gives countries more tools to control tobacco use and save lives. On February 27, the provisions of the Treaty became legally binding for the first 40 countries that became Contracting Parties before November 30, 2004. Seventeen additional countries have become party to the Treaty since November. For these, and every country that becomes party from now on, the Treaty becomes legally binding 90 days after their date of deposit of the instrument of ratification or equivalent at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The United States has not ratified the framework.
To communicate your concern about U.S. involvement, log on to http://ash.org/usasign2.html.

The State Building and Construction Trades Council of the AFL-CIO has issued a report Tobacco Industry Targeting of Blue-Collar Workers. Written by labor consultant Catherine Leonard, the report shows blue-collar workers and building trades workers smoke at much higher rates than the general population - up to 57.8% in some trades. Call 916-443-3302 for more information.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is adding tobacco cessation counseling to services covered for Medicare. According to John M. Clymer, President of the Partnership for Prevention, which pushed for the policy, the new coverage is an important victory. Partnership estimates that the counseling benefit will save 95,000 years of life over a 10-year period. Tobacco is the number one preventable cause of death in the United States, with the Medicare-aged population accounting for two-thirds of those premature deaths.

An important new study in Environmental Health Perspectives demonstrates a strong negative relationship between children's exposure to secondhand smoke and their performance on tests measuring reading, math and reasoning skills. The new study, conducted primarily by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, involved nearly 4,399 U.S. children 6-16 years of age. The negative impact of secondhand smoke on children's cognitive ability was evident even at extremely low levels of exposure and held up when other possible explanations (e.g., poverty, parent education, etc.) were controlled. The study estimated that more than 33 million American kids are at risk for secondhand smoke-related reading deficits. To read the entire study, see http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/members/2004/7210/7210.pdf.

A public opinion poll conducted for newspaper Aftenposten showed 76% of those questioned supported Norway's law requiring clean air in all public places, including bars and restaurants. The law took effect last June and the vast majority of those questioned said they're still going out as much as they did before the law was imposed.

Utah was one of the nation's first states to require clean indoor air for restaurant and office workers but their protection wasn't extended to bar and nightclub workers. Now the State Senate has narrowly passed a bill to give all Utah workers protection. The bill, which would make Utah the nation's eighth smoke-free workplace state, now goes to the Utah House where it faces stiff opposition. California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine are the smoke-free workplace states.

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 04-07, 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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