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Contra Costa Health Services


A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

October/November 2003

The Sheriff's Office and the Tobacco Prevention Project will co-host a tobacco issues forum for law enforcement officials throughout Contra Costa on Thursday, November 19 from 9 - 11 a.m. at the Sheriff's Office located at 1980 Muir Road in Martinez. Topics will include enforcing youth related tobacco laws, clean indoor air ordinances and laws, challenges presented by smoking at bingo games and the new state law restricting outdoor smoking near public buildings. For more information, call Charlotte Dickson at 925-313-6216 or Detective Jim McCauley at 925-313-2698.

Join the Longs March on Thursday, November 20 at 10 a.m. The event, sponsored by the Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Coalition, focuses attention on the drug store chain's failure to carry out their promises to stop selling and advertising tobacco and to support local cessation programs. It begins at 1123 South California Blvd. in Walnut Creek and includes a march to Longs' executive headquarters at 141 North Civic Drive. Call 510-981-5330 for more information or call Longs Headquarters at 925-937-1170 and ask them to stop selling tobacco.

Contra Costa Health Services held its first Tobacco Retailer's License suspension hearing on October 2. After hearing testimony from the Tobacco Prevention Project and the owner of Shop and Save in Bay Point, Public Health Director Wendel Brunner, MD, the hearing officer, suspended the store's license for a week.

Tobacco Prevention Project Manager Denice Dennis recently sent a letter to Acting Chief Chuck Bennett of the Richmond Police Department congratulating him and his staff for raising compliance with the Tobacco-Free Youth Ordinance (TFYO) to 100% among Richmond stores. The Richmond Police Department responded to concerns from Empowerment Through Action, a youth empowerment project, about enforcement of tobacco laws.

The Tobacco Prevention Project (TPP) and the Tobacco Prevention Coalition (TPC) begin planning for 2004-07 at the November TPC meeting. By March, TPC members and TPP staff will prioritize tobacco prevention issues for local funding through TPP. If interested in having your voice heard on this issue, call Denice Dennis at 925-313-6825.

Vida Sana en Vivo,Contra Costa Health Services' 30-minute Spanish language health talk show, features Marisol Romero of the Hispanic/Latino Tobacco Education Network. She discusses the importance of local tobacco laws and how they affect the Latino community. The show, seen on Contra Costa Television, airs October 16 and October at 3:30 p.m., October 17 and October 24 at 5 p.m. For more information, visit or call Vicky Balladares at 925-313-6817.

Dian Kiser, Co-Director of BREATH, the state's smoke-free bars, workplaces and communities project, made a compelling presentation at the Tobacco Prevention Coalition's September meeting. She urged the group to work to extend secondhand smoke protections to a wider range of venues. She noted that communities across California have banned outdoor smoking in ATM lines, concert pavilions, fairgrounds, wharves and piers.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Introduction to the Upcoming Three-Year Funding Process
Thursday, November 13, 10 a.m. - noon
Call 925-313-6214 for more information

In January, California takes the next step towards clearing the air of secondhand smoke. AB 846, signed by Governor Gray Davis in September, will prohibit smoking within 20 feet of doorways and windows of public buildings throughout the State. Public buildings are those owned or leased by any government entity - federal, state or local. Contra Costa's Tobacco Prevention Project will be working with county and city officials to implement the law in early 2004. For more information, call Charlotte Dickson at 925-313-6216.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that the tobacco industry spent a total of $11.22 billion on advertising and promotion in 2001, amounting to $1.36 billion in California alone. Accounting for inflation, this translates to $1.41 billion in real (2003) dollars, which is an increase of $200 million from 2000. This increase alone is nearly twice the total that California spends on the entire state's Tobacco Control Program ($114 million). Read the Federal Trade Commission's Cigarette Report for 2001 online at 20pp.).

Acalanes Drug/Alcohol Task Force Update reports "affluence" is a key risk factor, according to Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Nearly 2000 teens, aged 12-17, were interviewed in the spring of 2003. Researchers found that students with $25 or more in weekly spending money were twice as likely to smoke, drink or use drugs than students with less money. And when drinking, they were more likely to get drunk. At $50 a week, over 30% used marijuana and over 60% were drinkers. At less than $15, fewer than 30% drank and fewer than 10% used dope.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton dismissed a lawsuit filed in April by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the nation's second largest cigarette maker, and Lorillard Tobacco Co. The companies claimed that their constitutional rights had been violated because taxes on their products were being used to support ads that were against their interests. They said the ads contaminated the minds of potential jurors in smoking-related cases. But the judge did not agree. "Given that the tax is lawfully imposed, the money collected becomes the government's to expend as it sees fit, so long as those expenditures fall within legal limits," said the judge. State Health Director Diana M. Bonta said the decision allows the state to continue to spread the word that "tobacco kills." The Department of Health Services produced the ads, which started running in 1990 and are paid for by a 25-cent-per-pack tax on cigarettes. The companies will appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

A Smoking Gun? The Impact of Cannabis Smoking on Respiratory Health, from the British Lung Foundation, surveys current research into the direct effects of smoking cannabis - both alone and in combination with tobacco - on the smoker's respiratory health. The report found that smoking three to four cannabis cigarettes a day is associated with the same damage to bronchial airways as smoking 20 or more tobacco cigarettes; smoking a cannabis cigarette results in a fourfold greater amount of tar inhaled into the respiratory tract than smoking a tobacco cigarette; and tar from cannabis cigarettes contains up to 50% higher concentrations of carcinogens than tar from tobacco smoke.

Attorneys-General from 23 states asked the Motion Picture Association of America to reduce smoking in the movies. The group cited a recent Dartmouth University study that a reduction in the prevalence of cigarette smoking in movies could drastically decrease the initiation of smoking in youth. They asked Association President Jack Valenti to rally the industry to move from "being a source of the problem to being recognized as a critically important force in solving the nation's deadly problem of youth smoking." The Dartmouth Medical School study, called the broadest research to date, reveals that the children, ages 10-14, who watched the highest amount of smoking in movies were nearly three times more likely to start smoking than those children who watched the least amount of smoking in movies. For more information visit

In 1998, the National Association of Attorneys General passed a resolution asking actors and actresses and the motion picture industry to take steps to reduce use of tobacco by children under 18. The resolution, citing tobacco-related illnesses and deaths caused by underage smoking, called upon members of the motion picture industry to voluntarily review the use of cigars and cigarettes in film to eliminate or reduce use of tobacco and tobacco products, and to consider establishing and maintaining public education.

Contact FYI at 925-313-6214 or e-mail 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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