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A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

May/June 2007

California's adult smoking rate dropped to a historic low of 13.3% in 2006, down from 14% in 2005. According to the California Department of Health Services, the state's latest survey shows that women are smoking far less than men. Rates among California women decreased to 9.1% in 2006 compared with 11.1% in 2005. State Public Health Officer Mark Horton said, "California's smoke policies, comprehensive tobacco education programs and the price of cigarettes have all played a role in making people think twice about smoking."

Middle College High School's Empowerment Through Action (ETA), a youth development program coordinated by the Contra Costa Health Services' TeenAge Program and funded by the CDC Foundation, hosted a tobacco prevention Action Week, April 16-19 on the Contra Costa College campus. It was part of a statewide effort by the California Youth Action Network in Sacramento to engage youth in raising awareness about tobacco and its impact on young people and communities. ETA staged a variety of activities, including drawing chalk outlines of bodies paired with tobacco facts around campus; distributing pins for youth to wear indicating they did not use tobacco, knew someone who used tobacco, and/or knew someone who had died due to a tobacco related cause; and wearing stickers that represented facts about the tobacco industry.

There were youth-hosted games to increase awareness about tobacco facts, classroom presentations and a movie to engage youth in examining the presence of tobacco products in teen films. Middle College High School and Contra Costa College students participated in events.

In response to a request from the University of California (UC) Board of Regents, which has been considering a policy to decline money from the tobacco industry, the Academic Assembly - the highest faculty Senate committee, which includes representatives from all UC campuses - voted to continue taking tobacco money. Forty-three opposed the proposed Regents policy of declining tobacco money, four supported it, and three abstained. All three members of the UC San Francisco delegation voted to support the Regents' policy, as did the chair of the Systemwide Budget Committee. Said one UC alumni: "I'm proud of UCSF and ashamed of UC."

The Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association recently banned smoking inside its markets and within 30 feet of each market's perimeter. "We see this as an extension of using the farmers' market to find a healthier lifestyle," said Allen Moy, assistant director of the association, which operates 39 weekly farmers markets in seven Bay Area counties. The markets in Contra Costa are at Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Walnut Creek and Martinez and farmers' markets in Brentwood, Concord, Danville, Martinez, Pinole and Pittsburg.

Former Concord Mayor Ron Mullin recently had published an op/ed piece in the Contra Costa Times advocating stronger secondhand smoke protections. According to him, the Concord Municipal code doesn't consider the impact of "drifting" tobacco smoke. Mullin calls on Concord to amend its smoking ordinance to prohibit smoking in all public parks, gardens, events and other outdoor locations - as well as multi-unit residences. Mullin says an updated smoking ordinance, similar to the Public Health Institute's model ordinance (being used by the City of Belmont) regulating smoking in multiunit residences and elsewhere throughout the city would be a great place to start. Contra Costa adopted a model comprehensive secondhand smoke ordinance in October 2006 for the unincorporated areas of the county.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Thursday, 10-noon, July 19, 2007
IBEW Building, 1875 Arnold Drive, 2nd floor, Martinez 94553
"A Smokefree Contra Costa"
To RSVP, call 925-313-6214

Carol McGruder of Berkeley, an anti-smoking activist who has battled the tobacco industry for 15 years for targeting African Americans, was presented with the American Legacy Foundation's Community Activist Award recently. "African Americans, we are the creators of all that is cool and hip," McGruder said. "In many ways, we're trend-setters. The tobacco industry will study each particular (ethnic) group and tailor messages particularly for that group. Kool cigarettes is all about being cool." But African Americans don't find it cool, or easy, to quit smoking. Of all the ethnic groups, African Americans have the hardest time quitting. (This item is based on information written by Dave Newhouse of ANG Newspapers).

The prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released a report in the form of a book -Ending the Tobacco Problem. Presented as a blueprint to reduce tobacco use, it reviews effective prevention and treatment interventions, and offers broad-reaching recommendations for a set of new tobacco control policies to be adopted by federal and state governments. The report documents the extraordinary growth of tobacco use during the first half of the 20th century, the drop in the mid-1960s after the Surgeon General's report. It reviews the addictive properties of nicotine. This book also identifies the benefits to society when fully implementing effective tobacco control interventions and policies. More information is available at http://www.iom.edu

The California Smokers' Helpline website - www.nobutts.org - has some new features, including: "How Smoking Hurts the Body." This animated model shows different parts of the body and the harmful effects of smoking. On the "Local Tobacco Cessation Resources" page users may input their address and receive information on the five closest local cessation programs to them.

Counties can also update information on their cessation programs directly on the website. Some Spanish pages have been added. Contact Kirsten Hansen at k3hansen@ucsd.edu or 858-300-1012 for more information.

Three companion papers from the University of San Diego report that since California voters approved Proposition 99, young adult smokers are quitting the habit in record numbers and older smokers are consuming fewer cigarettes. The reports, published in the April 2007 issue of Tobacco Control, detail the impact of the first 12 years of the state's campaign to reduce the impact of tobacco. Read them online at http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com

Vietnam launched a National Non-Smoking Week on World Non-Smoking Day, May 31 to raise public awareness of the dangers of smoking following a new government ban on smoking in public places, including offices, bars, restaurants, and on public transport. The new directive also bans the sale of cigarettes in public places and bans all forms of advertisement, promotion, and sponsorship by tobacco companies, and cigarette sales through vending machines, over telephones, and on the Internet. A recent national survey showed Vietnam has one of the world's highest ratio of smokers, with 56% of men and 1.8 percent of women smoking and spending VND8.2 trillion (US$513 million) each year on the habit.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) said this month that films that appear to glamorize smoking will risk a more restrictive rating, and descriptions of tobacco use will be added to the increasingly detailed advisories that accompany each rated film. But MPAA stopped short of guaranteeing that tobacco use would be considered as heavily as sex, violence or drug use in assigning a rating. University of California, San Francisco researcher and anti-smoking activist Stanton Glantz urges that health advocates call on the MPAA to put a "real" policy in place that will make a difference - R ratings for smoking. "It's an anemic response," said Dr. Cheryl Healton, president of the American Legacy Foundation. She pointed out that her research showed that teenagers were not receiving fewer impressions of onscreen smoking, as MPAA contends

According to the New York State Department of Health, 70% of individuals with serious mental illness (SMI) smoke, compared with 23% of the general populations. Smokers with SMI and addiction consume nearly half of all cigarettes sold in the United Sates. The Department funded a project conducted by a private not-for-profit psychiatric rehab agency to tailor intervention for patients who struggled with tobacco addiction. What the study revealed is that even a small reduction in smoking in this population will demonstrate favorable health outcomes and cost savings. The outcomes of the project are documented in the video "Smoke Alarm: the Truth about Smoking and Mental Illness." The video is available by contacting Lindsey von Busch at 732-288-0629.

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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