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Contra Costa Health Services


A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

February/March 2006

Kaiser Permanente Diablo Service area health campuses are now smoke-free! Congratulations to all the staff there who worked on this year-long project to create more healthy environments for patients, visitors and staff. Effective February 14, these facilities do not allow smoking on any of their property, including parking lots and campus grounds. "We chose Valentine's Day as the start of our smoke-free policy, first, because its symbol is the heart, and tobacco is a leading cause of heart disease," says Diablo Area Chief Operating Officer Chris Robisch. The following campuses are included: Walnut Creek Hospital and Medical Offices; Park Shadelands Medical Offices in Walnut Creek; Martinez Medical Offices; and both Antioch Medical Offices. Kaiser Permanente expects its new hospital to open in Antioch in November 2007 as a smoke-free campus. In Southern California campuses and 10 others in Northern California have also have adopted this policy. In Contra Costa County For more information about Smokefree Health Care Campuses, call Denice Dennis at 925-313-6825.

The Richmond City Council unanimously adopted a tobacco retailer's license on January 17. It requires all retailers who sell tobacco to buy a license annually. The license can be suspended for tobacco sales violations, e.g. sale to a minor. Several Richmond residents testified in support of the ordinance, viewing it as a mechanism to stop not only the tobacco industry, but also the alcohol and drug paraphernalia industries, from targeting youth. Council members praised the efforts of Empowerment Through Action (ETA) to bring the ordinance to the Council. The City will be setting a fee and then taking steps to implement the new law.

Contra Costa County Family, Maternal And Child Health Programs and the Tobacco Prevention Project sponsored a training on Motivational Interviewing As A Tobacco Cessation Intervention on February 23 for providers who assist clients with smoking cessation. The workshop included demonstrations and practice time for the 35 participants. Trainer Cathy McDonald, MD, MPH, has conducted trainings in tobacco policy development and nicotine dependence treatment protocols for staff of primary health care centers, adolescent/adult substance abuse and mental health programs. For more information, call 925-313-6214.

Working With Families to Reduce Children's Exposure to Secondhand Smoke: A Facilitator's Training Manual is available now through Contra Costa's Promoting Smoke-Free Families Project! The manual, funded through First 5 Contra Costa, is aimed at increasing the skills of agency staff to work with families to create smoke-free homes and cars for children ages 0-5. To order the training manual, call 925- 313-6214.

Kudos to Dena Loijos, Project Director, and Joanna Reed, Project Coordinator from Santa Cruz County along with their Tobacco Education Coalition for their success in convincing the Santa Cruz Pride Planning Committee to adopt a smoke-free policy for the 2006 LGBT Pride Parade and Fair. The Parade and Fair will be held on June 4. The Planning Committee's adoption of the smoke-free policy will be discussed with the vendors and publicized in the local press prior to the event. The Committee is currently developing the actual policy language and implementation logistics.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Thursday, March 16
10 a.m.- noon

IBEW 1875 Arnold Drive, Martinez 94553
Proposed Secondhand Smoke Ordinance
Smokefree Hospitals Campuses
Multi-Unit Housing Project and more

Register to participate in the Smoking in Movies Petition Drive. This is a statewide campaign sponsored by the California Youth Advocacy Network that will run though the spring. By registering, advocates will receive local action steps, a coalition training component, talking points, sample press release, sample flyers, and free promotional items. Contact Andrea Valdez at 916-339-3424 or at

The Smoke Free Movies International Day of Action on February 28 is an opportunity for people worldwide to educate the public about the health risks of irresponsibly featuring tobacco use in youth-rated films. From 10 am-noon that day in San Rafael, there will be a public forum to air a variety of perspectives on the issue. This event is co-sponsored by the Marin County Tobacco Related Disease Control Program and the California Youth Advocacy Network (CYAN). For more information or to RSVP email or call 415-499-3020.

Secondhand Smoke Declared Toxic Air Contaminant The California Air Resources Board (ARB) recently declared secondhand smoke (SHS) as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC). SHS is now formally identified as an airborne toxic substance that may cause and/or contribute to death or serious illness. ARB's action to list SHS as a TAC was based on a comprehensive review of the science linking SHS exposure and negative health effects. Now that SHS is identified as a toxic air contaminant, the ARB will be working on recommendations to reduce exposure. More information is available on ARB's website at

Beginning March 1st, Disney's Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Hotel will become smokefree. A third Disney hotel, Disney's Grand Californian, opened in 2001 as a smokefree hotel. So now all three hotels (Paradise, Disneyland, and Grand Californian) will be smokefree. Outdoor designated smoking areas will be established within walking distance from each hotel. The decision to make the hotels smokefree was based on demand. On average, no more than two requests per day come in for smoking rooms. The hotels will gradually take the smoking rooms out of use and begin the task of replacing drapes, rugs and doing thorough cleaning to remove stains and impregnated tobacco odors. Last month, Westin announced that all of its 77 U.S., Canadian, and Caribbean hotels would be smokefree.

Rhode Island became the latest state to release figures reporting the impact of smokefree restaurant laws on revenues. From March through November 2005 (when the smokefree law took effect), sales tax collections on meals and beverages rose 8.2 percent over the same period in the prior year. Currently nine state legislatures are debating clean indoor air laws. In each of these states, there are a handful of legislators claiming that clean indoor air will ruin the hospitality industry and drive business to the closest smoky jurisdiction. The data continues to contradict those assertions.

Well, Rhode Island and other states and the District of Columbia may be going smokefree with increasing success, but there's one strong holdout: The United States Congress. The New York Times reports that smoking is still allowed in numerous places in the nation's Capitol, most noticeably where legislators crowd together. The new Republican majority leader John A. Boehner of Ohio regularly smokes between votes. Although former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary Rodham Clinton banned smoking in the White House during their tenure, the Times says there seems little desire among law makers to follow suit. One explanation for all this zeal might be the $55 million in donations the tobacco industry has pumped into campaigns.

The Puerto Rican Senate has passed a law that would eliminate smoking in bars, casinos, and other workplaces as well as in childcare centers and in private cars with children aboard. The bill, which prohibits smoking in cars carrying passengers under 13 years old, was adopted unanimously on Feb. 6. It now heads to the House of Representatives for approval.

British lawmakers voted by a huge margin recently to clear the air in every pub, club, and indoor public space in England, adding it to the growing list of countries taking a tough stand against smoking in favor of worker health. According to Reuters, the bill, passed 384 to 184, followed months of heated debate that divided the Labor government and stimulated health groups. Jubilant health campaigners welcomed the decision, saying the law would save thousands of innocent victims from exposure to a toxic substance, while critics condemned the government for interfering. The law will now pass to the unelected upper House of Lords, where it is also expected to pass. If so, it will become law by mid-2007.

Contact FYI by e-mailing 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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