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Contra Costa Health Services


A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

February/March 2004

Sixteen members of Empowerment Through Action, a youth group from Middle College High School, appeared before the San Pablo City Council in February. They were there to address the City's proposal to adopt a tobacco retailer's license ordinance that would require all tobacco vendors to get a license. The City Council responded by asking their attorney to draft the ordinance for a vote in March. Call Charlotte Dickson at 925-313-6216 for more information.

The Contra Costa County Tax Collector's Office recently identified 125 businesses in the unincorporated areas that have purchased tobacco retailer's license. Before implementing the tobacco retailer's license ordinance, the Tobacco Prevention Project and Sheriff's Office estimated there were only about 90 tobacco merchants in the unincorporated areas. This new list shows that having a tobacco retailer's license can help communities find out who is selling tobacco and therefore help with monitoring compliances with tobacco sales laws.

Charlotte Dickson, the Tobacco Prevention Project's Policy Coordinator, was recently interviewed on Comcast Cable Television. The interview focused on youth and tobacco. One of the highlights was a discussion about enforcement of tobacco sales laws and the success the Sheriff's Office and TPP have had in getting the illegal tobacco sales rate to 0% in the unincorporated areas of the County. The interview will be broadcast at 55 after the hour during the CNN headline news.

The State's Tobacco Education Media Campaign is launching "undo," a new advertising and public relations campaign to expose the consequences of tobacco addiction, tobacco industry propaganda and secondhand smoke. The effort is aimed at educating, empowering and uniting Californians to reject tobacco and the manipulative tactics of an industry that continues to place profit above human life. The campaign will encourage people to quit smoking, question the true intentions behind everything the tobacco industry says and does and reject tobacco in local communities.

Naphtali Offen from the LGBT Tobacco Research Project at the University of California, San Francisco, wrote a letter to KQED asking that they adopt a policy of not accepting money or advertising from the tobacco industry. He pointed out that the company uses its philanthropic ads to get its name out after 30 years of being off the air. "By partnering with highly reputable organizations like KQED, the company gains respectability and legitimacy," he told them. The TV station responded that KQED's Senior Management has made the decision to no longer accept underwriting support from Philip Morris USA when its current contract expires (which it now has). Bravo!

Five businesses in the unincorporated areas of Sonoma County were cited for furnishing tobacco products to minors last month. Sheriff's deputies escorted underage decoys to 36 locations, and instructed them to cooperate with the clerk. Four locations were cited for the second time. One received its third citation. According to the California Youth Tobacco Purchase Survey conducted by the State Department of Health Services, the sale of tobacco to minors in California increased by approximately seven percent between 2000 and 2002.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
First Five Contra Costa Children and Families Commission
Tobacco Prevention Activities
Proposed Tobacco Prevention Activities for 2004-07
Thursday, March 11, 10 a.m. - 12 noon
American Cancer Society, 1885 Oak Park Blvd, Pleasant Hill
Call 925-313-6214 for more information

The Nevada Appeal ran a column recently from the Baltimore Sun written by a veteran reporter. Michael Pakenham recalled the press conference he attended when Surgeon General Luther Terry released a report about the dangers of smoking in January 1964. President John F. Kennedy had ordered the investigation and the report drew on ten top medical experts and 8,000 independent studies. Pakenham's paper, the Chicago Tribune, knew it had a historical event. The lead story on page one said "Tie Cancer to Cigarets." Terry, a physician at Johns Hopkins University, quit smoking after the study was undertaken. The following year, Congress passed a law requiring every pack of cigarettes to carry the Surgeon General's warning. Pakenham quit smoking in 1985, the year Terry died of heart failure.

The American Legacy Foundation's truth campaign made an appearance on the Super Bowl with an ad for a fictitious company called Shards O Glass. After demonstrating their dangerous product, complete with a slimy looking company spokesperson, the ad ends with a provocative line: "Imagine if all companies sold products like tobacco." Check out the ad and the campaign at

According to, Philip Morris has been the leading overall campaign contributor to Republicans in federal elections since 1989, giving $14,300,228. And a report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and Common Cause reveals that the tobacco industry has contributed more than $7.3 million in soft money and political action committee contributions to federal candidates, political parties and political committees during the 2001-02 election cycle. Campaign contribution data for each federal candidate is available at:

You can find more than 400 low and no-cost educational and promotion materials at the Tobacco Education Clearinghouse of California. Materials included in the catalog were reviewed by the TECC Material Review Committee for cultural, educational and language appropriateness of the intended audience, and approved by the State Department of Health Services The catalogue is available online at

For affordable tobacco prevention gear, check out from the California Department of Health Services. It combines California's relaxed, yet active lifestyle with thought-provoking messages in an urban and contemporary collection of message-driven apparel and accessories that allow you to speak your mind and help change the world. With T-shirts, boxers and caps depicting messages such as "Smoke-free Zone" and "Tobacco-free Hottie," AT Gear allows you to make a statement whenever and wherever you go.

Beginning this June, New York State will require that all cigarettes sold in New York State be low ignition strength, making them less likely to cause fires if left unattended. New York State is the first in the world to require use of available technology to manufacture these safer cigarettes. Once the law takes effect, manufacturers who falsify cigarette certifications and those who sell uncertified cigarettes can be fined up to $10,000 for each false certification. Cigarettes are the leading cause of fire death in the U.S. To send a thank you to New York officials, go to To read articles about cigarettes and fire, visit

Smoking on the street was banned in parts of central Tokyo recently. To implement the ban, 50 uniformed cigarette patrol officers set out in the morning, armed with ashtrays and placards entreating smokers to stub out their cigarettes. The new regulations, rare in a country where an estimated 53 percent of men smoke, had been publicized in advance by a troop of young people in cigarette costumes who jogged through the streets handing out leaflets. Anyone caught smoking on certain busy streets more than once will face a 20,000-yen ($200 U.S.) fine. The ward office introduced the regulation to help keep the area litter-free and cut down on the number of incidents where people are burned by passing smokers.

According to a report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, girls and young women use cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs for reasons different from boys. They are more vulnerable to substance abuse, addiction and its consequences; 27.7% of high school girls smoke and most are using substances at an earlier age. The report provides an unprecedented analysis of the characteristics of girls and young women who abuse substances. The report is available at or by calling 212-841-5200.

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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