A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project
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Welcome to our new Policy Coordinator, Jaime Jenett! Jaime comes to us from the John Muir Women´s Health Center where she was the Program Coordinator. Prior to working at John Muir, Jaime was a Program Manager at the Pleasant Hill chapter of the American Cancer Society and a member of the Tobacco Prevention Coalition from 2004-2005.
The American Lung Association (ALA) of California has issued their annual State of Tobacco Control Report Card for 2008. Three categories of tobacco control policies were looked at for each jurisdiction in the state: Smokefree Outdoor Air, Smokefree Housing and Reducing Sales of Tobacco. Only one jurisdiction in the state (Glendale) made a combined grade of "A" and the unincorporated area of the County of Contra Costa tied with four other cities for second place in the Bay Area with a combined grade of "B".
The comprehensive Secondhand Smoke Protections Ordinance adopted in 2006 by the Contra Costa Board of Supervisors earned the unincorporated area of the County an "A" for Smokefree Outdoor Air. All other Contra Costa Cities besides San Ramon (a "C") got D´s and F´s in the category of Smokefree Outdoor Air and all areas in the county got D´s and F´s in the category of Smokefree Housing. Contra Costa´s major areas for improvement include improving smoke-free housing policies such as requiring landlords to designate a certain percentage of units as smoke free and disclosing to prospective tenants which units are smoking and which are non-smoking.
Congratulations to the City of Concord for receiving an "A" in the Reducing Sales of Tobacco Products category for enacting and enforcing a Tobacco Retailer License policy. Enforcement of Tobacco Retailer Licenses has demonstrated to reduce tobacco sales to minors. Clayton, Danville, Pinole, Richmond and San Pablo received D´s in this category for adopting but not enforcing a strong Tobacco Retailer Licensing policy. San Ramon received a "C" for having but not enacting a tobacco retailer licensing policy and for prohibiting the sampling of tobacco products. All other cities in the county received "F" grades in this category.
Prompted by the ALA report card, the city of Richmond has begun movement towards enforcing their tobacco retailer licensing ordinance adopted in 2006. At the February 3rd city council meeting, Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt said, "We´ve got a lot of threats to public health in Richmond. We need to start getting rid of the ones we have control over, and this is one place where we have full control where we can make a significant difference in the health of Richmond residents." Supervisor John Gioia and Julie Waters from the American Heart Association also testified at the meeting in support of this action. The city manager´s office was directed to develop a plan and report back at the March 3rd City Council meeting. To view the complete ALA report, go to http://www.californialung.org/sotc-ca-local.
Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Thursday March 19, 2009 10 a.m. to noon
2nd Floor Conference Room, 1875 Arnold Drive, Martinez
Call (925) 313-6214 to RSVP or for more information.
Youth at Discovering the Reality of Our Community (DROC), a youth-led, youth-driven alcohol and drug prevention program serving low-income high school students in Contra Costa County, recently conducted a walk-around in Richmond to assess storefront signage of alcohol and tobacco retailers. DROC picked this issue because the young people are tired of being directly marketed to by alcohol and tobacco companies through excessive advertising in their community. The group found that all of the stores had more than 33% of storefront windows covered by signage. The results were actually worse than the walk-around conducted in 2006 by ETA, a Middle College High School youth group. The group is working to present their findings to policy makers in Richmond and is advocating for allowable signage to be restricted to no more than 10%..
A workgroup of the Tobacco Prevention Coalition has formed to develop and implement a Cultural Competency Assessment of the Coalition and the Tobacco Prevention Project. The survey will be distributed some time in February. We will analyze results and develop an action plan at the March 19th coalition meeting. If you are interested in participating on the workgroup, please contact Jaime Jenett at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (925) 313-6216.
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will soon release its much-anticipated draft, Risk Assessment Report on Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) for public comment. (The scheduled release date is currently set for late March.) This report is the second phase of the toxic air contaminant (TAC) identification process. In this phase, CARB staff will present their review of the current laws and controls in place to reduce or eliminate the public´s exposure to secondhand smoke and will propose new laws or regulations if necessary. It is expected that over the next six months, CARB will be asking stakeholders to review the draft report and provide comments on its policy priorities, before voting on the final report in June. To contribute public comment and to see the recommendations, go to http://arb.ca.gov/toxics/ets.htm or email email@example.com at the TPP to be notified of the upcoming report and public comment options.
UCSF is hosting the UCSF Tobacco Control Symposium: It´s About a Billion Lives Advances in Tobacco Control Celebrating Tobacco Research and Education at UCSF on February 20, 2009 from 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. For more information, email Jenni.Alexander@ucsf.edu
Landlords Can be Now Be Sued For Secondhand Smoke. On Monday, Jan. 12, there was an important victory won in a legal case (Birke v Oakwood) regarding secondhand smoke in multi-unit housing, in which the American Lung Association of California filed an amicus ("friend of the court") brief in support of a young girl´s claim that cigarette smoke in common areas of her apartment complex was a public nuisance. According to the attorneys representing the American Lung Association of California and the young girl, California´s Second District Court of Appeal has become the first court in the United States to rule an apartment tenant can sue her landlord for failing to restrict cigarette smoking in outdoor common areas like the swimming pool, playground or dining areas. In 2006, when she was 5 years old, Melinda Birke sued the owners of the Oakwood Garden Apartments in Woodland Hills, where she lives, for creating a public nuisance in violation of California law by allowing smoking in those areas. The panel´s groundbreaking decision unanimously reversed a trial court ruling that dismissed Melinda´s claim. The full text of the decision can be found at the following link: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B203093.PDF.