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A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

June/July 2005

The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project has released a policy paper: A Tool for Reducing Youth Access to Tobacco: The Tobacco Retailer License. The paper recommends that cities adopt a licensing ordinance for tobacco retailers and demonstrates how the implementation of a tobacco retailer licensing ordinance reduced the illegal tobacco sales rate to minors from 37% to 7% in Contra Costa's unincorporated areas. For a copy of the paper, call 925-313-6214 or find it online at cchealth.org

The Country Village Homeowner's Association Board in Martinez recently voted to make its common area recreational grounds smoke-free. Residents and their guests will not be able to smoke around the pool, on the tennis courts or in the barbeque area. "This is one way condo associations can protect families from secondhand smoke exposure," said Jim McCauley, one of the approximately 400 residents there who will be affected.

The American Lung Association of the East Bay has been awarded funding to pursue smoke-free housing in Contra Costa, Alameda and Solano counties. In Contra Costa, the project will focus on working with tenants of a subsidized housing development to advocate for smoke-free housing policies, for example designating a portion of the apartments smokefree. To learn more about the project, call Serena Chen at 510-893-9008.

Supervisor John Gioia joined members of Empowerment Through Action, Richmond Police Explorers and Lt. Ron Berry to survey advertising in 17 Richmond stores. The group found a proliferation of alcohol and tobacco ads inside stores as well as outside. All stores that sold tobacco were in compliance with the City's ordinance requiring tobacco to be placed behind the counter, but alcohol products were easily reached. ETA will present the findings of its walkaround to the Richmond City Council on June 21 (and ask for the Council to consider revising its sign ordinance and adopting a tobacco retailer licensing ordinance). For more information, call Charlotte Dickson at 925-313-6216.

Former Contra Costa resident Laurie Comstock is organizing a rally in Sacramento on Saturday, July 9, to protest and call attention to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's cigar tent. A similar protest, held on Valentine's Day, received national attention. The July rally was prompted by a May interview between Fox 40 News' Chris Wallace and Schwarzenegger. The governor was asked about a bill that would force him to take down his smoking tent where he entertains legislators. "As long as I am at the capitol I will be smoking my stogies down there and I will be having people down their smoking stogies... Just remember one thing, they can be passing all the bills they want. There is one person who has to sign it. That's me," the governor said. The rally will be on the South Steps of the Capitol from 11 a.m.- p.m. For more information, email Lauriscomstock@aol.com or call 916-686-2043. To send a letter describing your position on taking down the Governor's "butt hut," go to www.smokefree.net/Arnold.

Promoting Smokefree Families Collaborative Meeting
Topic: Smokefree Health Care Campuses and Families

Tuesday, June 28 10 a.m. - noon George Miller Center 300 S. 27th St. Richmond

Tobacco Prevention Coalition
Tobacco Retailer Licensing in Contra Costa Cities

Thursday, July 28 10 am - noon
40 Douglas Drive, Suite 101, Martinez
For information and to RSVP call 925-313-6214

Three prenatal care clinics in Contra Costa County are currently implementing protocols to reduce pregnant women's exposure to secondhand smoke and to promote cessation among pregnant women. Providers at the Richmond Health Center, Antioch Park and Brookside Community Health Center, Richmond and San Pablo, have received training and materials through the First 5 funded Smokefree Families Project to include the intervention in their clinic practice. As a result of the intervention, pregnant smokers receive tailored cessation counseling and those exposed to secondhand smoke receive counseling and materials. For more information, contact Sylvia Taqi-Eddin at the Tobacco Prevention Project, 925-313-6218.

The California Assembly recently passed Assembly Bill 616, which would prohibit smoking in any outdoor patio or courtyard of a state building surrounded by four walls. While there are other examples of state buildings with these courtyards, AB 616 is viewed as an attempt to eliminate smoking in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's cigar tent, located on a patio outside his offices on the first floor of the Capitol. AB 616 passed on a vote of 41-32, the bare number of votes required to pass bills out of the Assembly. AB 616 will next move to the Senate for action. For more information call Paul Knepprath at the American Lung Association of California, 916-442-4446.

In the most alarming change, the United States government abruptly changed how much it was asking the tobacco industry to pay to help the nation's 45 million smokers quit. In a landmark lawsuit against the industry, the government's own expert witness, Dr. Michael Fiore of the University of Wisconsin, called for a 25-year, $130 billion smoking cessation program. But the government asked for only $10 billion over five years - less than eight percent of what its own expert said is needed. The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times reported that a top Justice Department official who worked for a law firm that represented RJ Reynolds pressured the Justice Department lawyers to give Big Tobacco a break. The Justice Department filed the case five years ago under the civil Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, known as RICO. California Congressman Henry J. Waxman, longtime health advocate, has asked the Office of the Inspector General to investigate whether improper political interference led to the Department of Justice's sudden reversal

One of the Bay Area's premier anti-tobacco activists, Ruth Malone, and nurse activists from the national organization, Nightingale Nurses, attended Altria's (formerly Phillip Morris) annual stockholders' meeting and got CEO Louis C. Camilleri's attention. While he was stating the statistics about the company's market share both in the United States and abroad, members and allies of the Nightingales called out the names of tobacco victims and brought the industry to task for its marketing tactics in Africa. Camilleri held onto the claim that Altria has transformed itself into a good corporate citizen. For more information about the Nightingale Nurses, including letters to the tobacco industry from its victims, go to www.nightingalenurses.org

The Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Coalition continues to try to influence Long's Drugs policy about selling tobacco. Although the original target of eliminating the sale of tobacco is still not yet achieved, coalition members have brought corporate responsibility and accountability to the forefront. Long's, based in Contra Costa, will have to answer to the shareholders and will be forced to have annual elections. Serena Chen, Policy Director for the American Lung Association of the East Bay, says, "The impact of this action is far-reaching and will motivate other socially conscious shareholders to demand more accountability."

California researchers Michael K. Ong, MD, PhD and Stanton A. Glantz, PhD have published a report comparing the cost-effectiveness of a free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) program with a statewide smoke-free workplace policy in Minnesota. They conducted 1-year simulations of costs and benefits. The number of individuals who quit smoking and the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were the measures of benefits. After a year, a NRT program generated 18,500 quitters at a cost of $7,020 per quitter ($4,440 per QALY). The smoke-free workplace policy generated 10,400 quitters at a cost of $799 per quitter ($506 per QALY). Smoke-free workplace policies are about nine times more cost-effective per new nonsmoker than free NRT programs are. Smoke-free workplace policies should be a public health funding priority, even when the primary goal is to promote individual smoking cessation. The full paper is available at http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/95/6/969

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas signed Vermont's smokefree workplace bill into law recently. The law which provides clean air for all Vermont workers, including bar, pub, tavern, cabaret and nightclub workers, goes into effect on Sept. 1. Vermont joins California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Montana as the nation's 9th state to enact smokefree workplace legislation for all workers, including restaurant and bar workers. For more information, go to www.smokefree.net/alerts.php

Contact FYI by e-mailing jfreestone@hsd.cccounty.us or call 925-313-6214. 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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