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Contra Costa Health Services


A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

January/February 2007

The Tobacco Prevention Coalition (TPC) and the California Clean Air Project (CCAP) teamed up to honor now-former Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier (he's been elected to the Assembly) and the Board of Supervisors for their leadership and commitment to tobacco control. The Board of Supervisors received the "Clean Air Award" in recognition of adopting an ordinance to expand smoke-free areas outdoors and in multi-unit housing this fall.
DeSaulnier received CCAP's "Public Health Leadership Award" for outstanding service and long-term commitment to tobacco control since 1991. TPC saluted DeSaulnier with an award as well. "Mark has been a champion in addressing the health concerns of the residents of Contra Costa County," stated Dr. Joel White, TPC Co-Chair. "He has continued to be a leader in the development and passage of polices to address the harmful affects of smoking."

The Tobacco Prevention Project (TPP) celebrates efforts of local health advocates for major accomplishments in 2006 to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, reduce access to tobacco products, counter pro-tobacco influences and promote cessation services. Funded through First 5 Contra Costa, TPP's Promoting Smoke Free Families (PSFF) Project staff trained and provided follow-up support to seven Comprehensive Perinatal Services Providers (CPSP) and their office staff to integrate a clinical Protocol addressing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke with their pregnant patients. Congratulations to the following CPSP providers who have adopted this intervention in their clinical practice: Dr. Dan Zimmerman's office in Antioch Medical Park, Richmond Health Center, La Clinica Monument and Pittsburg, Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, Pittsburg Health Center and Brookside Community Health Center. As a result of this program, 593 pregnant women received a targeted tobacco prevention intervention in 2006. Of these, 174 were pregnant smokers; 190 were pregnant women who indicated that they quit when they learned that they were pregnant; and 229 were women who were exposed to secondhand smoke in their homes. Tobacco Retailer Licensing Ordinances (TRLO) were adopted by the two largest cities in the county, Concord and Richmond. TRLO requires all tobacco retailers to get a license in order to sell tobacco products and include suspension for violations of tobacco sales laws. The licensing measures helped maintain a 7% youth tobacco sales rate, down from 37% in 2002. The City of Concord included a provision in its TRLO requiring the total amount of window signage allowed. From January through October 2006, 890 Contra Costans were served by the California Smoker's Helpline, a free telephone smoking cessation service funded through Prop 99.

As part of the planning process for 2007-2010, The Tobacco Prevention Coalition, Tobacco Prevention Project staff and community partners gathered in November to assess where we "shine" in tobacco prevention, and where we need to improve in our efforts to reduce the impact of tobacco on residents in the county. The next part of the process will be held on Thursday, January 25th (see box below for details), when the Coalition, staff and partners will develop decision-making criteria for how tobacco prevention issues will be prioritized for action. A workgroup will be convened to meet in February to apply the criteria to the 30 different tobacco prevention issues that the group analyzed in November. If you would like to participate in the January meeting, please call Cheri Webster at 925-313-6214 to RSVP.

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Thursday, January 25, 9:30 a.m. - 12 noon, IBEW Building,
1875 Arnold Drive, Martinez 94553
"Decision-Making Criteria for 2007-2010 Action Plan"
To RSVP, call 925-313-6214

Contra Costa Public Health Director Wendel Brunner spoke at the annual meeting of the county and statewide Tobacco Prevention Projects. Saluting two decades of efforts, Dr. Brunner said that tobacco control efforts such as reducing smoking prevalence and enacting smoke-free workplace laws and limited youth access were "the most profound public health advancements since the development of the polio vaccine." He said things were even more difficult for tobacco control activists. Polio vaccine developers didn't have an industry spending billions of dollars to fight public health efforts.

The Kern County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a tobacco retailer licensing ordinance in October for the unincorporated areas of the county. The initial license cost is set to $165. The ordinance also contains language that requires all tobacco retailers to attend training on tobacco laws as a condition to apply for the permit. For more information, contact

Thanks to astute voting in November, Ohio, Arizona, and Nevada become the 15th, 16th, and 17th states in the United States to enact comprehensive smoke-free legislation for workers, including restaurant and bar workers. In each state health groups (led by the American Cancer Society) collected signatures to place comprehensive smoke-free workplace initiatives on the ballot. Opponents (led by tobacco and gambling interests) placed similar sounding, but vastly different, initiatives on the ballot. Voters overwhelmingly passed the health group initiatives and soundly defeated opponent initiatives. They join California, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Montana, Vermont, Washington, New Jersey, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii, as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. in protecting workers.

But those victories were not unchallenged. University of San Francisco researcher Stan Glantz reports, "The tobacco industry's pals in the bar business are doing their usual gig." He's talking about the move in Ohio and Nevada to try to stop implementation those states' smoke-free workplace laws, claiming that the laws are unconstitutional. The industry has lost all these cases so far. Glantz says it is important to challenge the unfounded claims of economic loss and that health groups should be pointing out that by not enforcing these laws, the public is suffering direct harm, particularly an increased risk of heart attacks. Glantz points out that this is standard tobacco industry operating procedure, aimed at causing chaos and spreading misinformation. (In Nevada, the court ruled the ordinance could go forth, but with no law enforcement assistance.)

The Weinstein Company, a multi-media corporation headed by Bob and Harvey Weinstein of Miramax fame, recently inserted an anti-tobacco ad before the Clerks II DVD. This was in response to a request from several dozen Attorneys General (AG) to Hollywood to put such ads before movies with smoking. The Weinstein Company has been the only studio to respond to the AG and has only agreed to insert the ad in this film release. Health advocates can thank the Weinstein Company and to encourage them to include anti-tobacco ads on their future DVD releases. For more information, contact Andrea Valdez at 916-339-3424 ext.25 or at

Citing safety concerns, National Zoo officials in Washington, D.C., decided to ban smoking at the tourist attraction beginning December 1. Smoking was already prohibited in zoo buildings, and keepers were not allowed to smoke in animal areas. The new policy bans smoking outdoors as well, including on public walkways. Smoking also will be prohibited in zoo golf carts and other vehicles. The smoking ban at the National Zoo reflects a trend toward nonsmoking zoos around the country. About a third of the 214 members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums are smoke-free, according to the Washington Post.

The Atlantic City Council voted unanimously recently to introduce legislation to eliminate tobacco smoke in casinos. Although New Jersey State law requires other workplaces to be smoke-free, it exempts casinos. The move was inspired by casino workers whose lives were impacted by smoke and impatience with how long state level legislation might take. A final vote was planned for January 24 and the law would be effective April 15.

The American Medical Association (AMA) Alliance, the 26,000-member volunteer arm of the AMA, thinks movies aimed at kids are glamorizing smoking. It released a list for parents of recent films that contain an excessive amount of smoking: The top five are The Ant Bully; Material Girls; Talladega Nights, Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and Stay Alive, all rated PG or PG 13. Although the U.S. domestic tobacco industry has agreed to stop paid cigarette brand placements, activists want Hollywood to incorporate smoking as a part of its voluntary ratings system, which now judges movies according to sex, violence and foul language. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking among teenagers is no longer dropping as it did during the late 1990s, and smoking in films is partly responsible. More information is available at

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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