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Contra Costa Health Services


A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

April/May 2005

Diablo Valley College's (DVC) Dean of Student Life, Bill Oye, is working with student services managers, supervisors and campus police to increase compliance with AB 846, the law that prohibits smoking within 20 feet of government buildings. Designated smoking areas are confined to the two parking lots and the quad on the DVC campus. Bright red smoking reminders with the message "Warning: You are smoking in a non-smoking area" are handed to people who are violating the law. Mr. Oye reports that smokers generally have been cooperative when approached with respect and care.

The Promoting Smoke-Free Families Project (PSFF) launches a public education campaign in May to decrease children's exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. The campaign, featuring local children, includes a made-for-television public service announcement and ads for bus shelters and movie theatres in Richmond and San Pablo. The message is "take it outside" rather than smoke around young children in homes or cars. PSFF, a partnership between Contra Costa Health Services' Family, Maternal and Child Health Program and the Community Wellness & Prevention Program's Tobacco Prevention Project, receives funding from First 5 Contra Costa. The Promoting Smoke-Free Families Collaborative is meeting from 10 a.m. - noon on Tuesday, April 26 at 1340 Arnold Dr., Room 125, Martinez. The meeting will include a preview of the public education campaign. For more information, call Cherri Gardner at 925-313-6463.

The Promoting Smoke-Free Families Project recently presented a training to the prenatal care providers at the Richmond Health Center on Working With Pregnant Women On Smoking Cessation And Secondhand Smoke Exposure. Funded by First 5 Contra Costa, the PSFF Project is working with prenatal care clinics to link pregnant patients with smoking cessation counseling services and to reduce the secondhand smoke exposure of pregnant women and children ages 0-5. Both Brookside Community Clinic and Dr. Daniel Zimmerman's office in Antioch Medical Park will also begin the project with their patients in the month of May. For more information, call Sylvia Taqi-Eddin at 925-313-6218.

Denice Dennis, Tobacco Prevention Project (TPP) Manager and Charlotte Dickson, TPP Policy Coordinator, each made presentations at the Statewide Tobacco Control Project Directors' meeting held April 18-21 in Sacramento. The meeting began with a training on information and education visits to policy makers. Denice described how to localize information on youth access and the cost of smoking. Contra Costa Tobacco Prevention Coalition chair Joel White, MD, also attended that session and met with state elected officials on the importance of tobacco prevention work in Contra Costa. Charlotte was a member of a panel addressing issues related to licensing tobacco retailers. A report on the conference will be delivered at the Coalition's May meeting (see below).

Mini-grants are available from the University of Southern California, Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research. The grants are aimed at reducing secondhand smoke exposure in apartments or small worksites with fewer than five employees in the Hispanic/Latino community. More information is available online or by calling 646-457-6611.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition
Thursday, May 19, 10 am - noon

IBEW Local 302, 1875 Arnold Drive, Martinez, CA
Topic: Smoke-Free Outdoor Areas for Contra Costa County and Gains in Licensing Tobacco Retailers
For information and to RSVP call 925-313-6214

The CDC just released a new study showing that the declines in youth smoking stopped concurrently with cuts to tobacco control programs. The report also shows that approximately 75% of middle and high school students are still exposed to images of people smoking in movies. University of California researcher Dr. Stanton Glantz says the report is important because it shows pro-health efforts to encourage smoke-free movies may be having an effect since there has been a drop in tobacco exposure. The report also acknowledges the importance of implementing policy changes that will produce large enough smoking reductions and prevent smoking initiation. The report is available online at

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, credit card companies and State Attorneys General agreed last month to work together to prevent the use of credit cards to buy cigarettes over the Internet across state lines. The result is that virtually all credit cards will no longer participate with Web sites based in the United States and abroad that sell cigarettes and tobacco products in every state. The card companies also agreed to take action against Internet sellers that authorities identify as violating state and federal laws regulating cigarette sales. California Attorney General Bill Lockyer was among the leaders of the effort. Smokers can still buy cigarettes over the Internet, but they would have to use checks, money orders or some other payment system that would likely delay receipt in the Internet business built on speed. Read more at

Morbity and Mortality Weekly reports that almost no progress is being made towards the Healthy People 2010 goal of eliminating all preemptive state tobacco control laws, resulting in the potential for lesser health protection. Preemptive state smoke-free indoor air laws remain common in the United States. States without preemption provisions can set minimum requirements and allow the continued passage and enforcement of local ordinances that may establish a greater level of protection of public health than state laws allow. Smoke-free laws and restrictions enable several important public health benefits.

UCSF researcher Dr. Stanton Glantz reports that the latest draft of the new CalEPA report on secondhand smoke is now available. It has been revised to reflect the ongoing scientific peer review from the Scientific Review Panel and public comments that have been submitted. Find it online at

The California Smokers' Helpline recently received an Award of Excellence as an effective Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Model Program. This award recognizes programs that have been tested in communities, schools, social service organizations and workplaces across America and have provided solid proof that they prevent or reduce substance abuse and related high-risk behaviors. The Helpline won praise for being effective, well implemented, and well evaluated. The Helpline is available by phone for smokers wanting help at 1-800-No-Butts and online at

Joe Cherner, who runs, an activist website, reports on a secret document made public as a result of the lawsuit settled between state Attorneys General and the tobacco cartel. The unanswered letter is from 43-year-old Linda Iverson, mother of two children. "I am in receipt of your holiday card and gift certificate coupons (for cigarettes) addressed to my husband, Ken Ivereson. I would like you to know that my husband, who is 44 years old, is now dying of lung cancer." Linda Iverson explains that the family has incurred thousands of dollars in medical costs. "How can you, in good conscience, work and support a company that provides such a deadly product? Do you have the courage to answer this letter?" They didn't.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, also reviewing the documents made available from the lawsuit, reported in The Lancet medical journal that Philip Morris, the world's largest tobacco manufacturer, was involved in research into the health effects of tobacco smoke 30 years ago. Although the tobacco industry claimed for many years that it was not aware of the toxic effects of cigarettes, the researchers said material from internal industry documents revealed Philip Morris' unpublished reports provided evidence that secondhand smoke is even more harmful than mainstream smoke.

Smoke-free workplace legislation to protect workers is happening all over the world. Some recent highlights: Ireland implemented a nationwide smoke-free workplace law, including pubs, bars and restaurants. Polls show high rates of acceptance and compliance. India eliminated smoking in public places, tobacco advertising in media, and sales to minors. Norway extended smoke-free workplace legislation to bars and restaurants. Hong Kong announced plans to extend smoke-free workplace legislation to bars, restaurants and offices. More information is available from Joe Cherner's website.

Contact FYI by e-mailing Julie Freestone 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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