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Contra Costa Health Services


A Project Update From The Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Project

March/April 2008

New educational materials are available from the Tobacco Education Clearinghouse of California ( on the state's new Smoke Free Cars law. The new law prohibits smoking in cars and other vehicles when youth under the age of 18 are present. Smokers can be fined up to $100 for violation of the law. The new materials include a two-sided fact card and poster, available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese. Downloadable fact sheets in English and Spanish are also available on the Tobacco Prevention Project's website at by clicking on Health Topics and then Tobacco Prevention. For more information about the law, call Denice Dennis at 925-313-6825.

Contra Costa was the only Bay Area county to earn an A grade when the American Lung Association of California issued grades recently for how well Bay Area municipalities are protecting their residents from secondhand smoke. Three counties and 73 cities received an F for lack of policies to protect residents from secondhand smoke in outdoor areas or multi-unit housing. Cities and counties were given an overall grade based on five categories: housing; recreation areas; outdoor dining; entryways and outdoor services areas; and whether or not they required licenses for any merchant selling tobacco. Among Contra Costa's cities, only San Ramon got as high as a C.

Andronico's Markets recently became the second California specialty supermarket operator to stop selling tobacco products, following on the heels of the same decision by Wegman's. Andronico's stopped selling tobacco on February 4, reportedly as part of an overall program of initiatives called Clean and Green. "We have been contemplating this for several years," President and CEO Bill Andronico told when asked about the timing of the announcement. "It's all part of a rising consciousness at Andronico's that will include the upcoming Clean and Green initiatives.

The Smoke Free Movies campaign started by Stanton Glantz, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, is picking up speed. The American Public Health Association (APHA) recently joined a list of supporters for the campaign that includes the World Health Organization, The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart, Lung and Medical associations. Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, Executive Director of the APHA, and Dr. Richard F. Daines, the Commissioner of Health for the state of New York, have both sent stern letters to several big Hollywood studios endorsing the four principles of the campaign. Dr. Daines' letter was published as a full-page ad in The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Dr. Benjamin wrote, "APHA recognizes that smoking in the movies has been rapidly increasing since the 1990's, particularly in youth-rated films, and continues to be a causal fact for children who begin using tobacco." For more information about the campaign, visit

A new study at Indiana University is the first ever to examine the effect of public smoking bans on heart attacks in non-smokers. The study compared hospital admissions for heart attack in two Indiana counties before and after the counties banned smoking indoors. It found that after a ban was implemented, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 70 % for non-smokers -- but not for smokers. "Heart attack admissions for smokers saw no similar decline during the study," said Dong-Chul Seo, lead author and an assistant professor in IU Bloomington's Department of Applied Health Science. "The benefits of the ban appear to come more from the reduced exposure to second-hand smoke among non-smokers than from reduced consumption of tobacco among smokers."

Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
Tobacco Prevention Coalition Meeting
"Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing Options"
Thursday, March 20, 10 a.m. to noon
IBEW Building, 2nd floor classroom, 1875 Arnold Drive, Martinez
Call 925-313-6214 to RSVP or for more information.

The California Smokers Helpline (1-800-NO BUTTS or 1-800-NO FUME in Spanish) provides up to six free one-on-one telephone counseling sessions for smokers who are interested in quitting. Callers also are mailed self-help booklets. There are also specialized services, including targeted self-help booklets, for teens and pregnant smokers. In addition to English and Spanish, services are available in Mandarin and Cantanese (1-800-838-8917), in Vietnamese (1-800-778-8440) and in Korean (1-800-556-5564). Online support can be found at and a youth-friendly site can be accessed at The University of California is no longer doing tobacco research funded by Philip Morris USA after receiving a reported $16 million in funding from the tobacco corporation in fiscal year 2006-07. Last September, the UC Board of Regents rejected a proposed ban on receiving research money from tobacco companies. Regrettably, the termination of funding by Philip Morris USA was the company's reaction to controversy over the program, not the university's.

Nearly all of indoor Maryland went smoke-free in January after the 2007 state legislature approved the Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act. The bill prohibits smoking in public meeting places, public transportation vehicles and indoor places of employment. At least 24 other states have full or partial bans of the carcinogen. Delaware passed its clean air bill, and the following year, residents were surveyed about the change. More than nine out of 10 people surveyed said they were as or more likely to go to restaurants, and 89 % said they were more likely to go to bars than before the regulations, according a fact sheet from the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DHMH). Several Maryland counties, including Montgomery, went smoke-free in restaurants in 2003. The following year, restaurant sales increased by 7 %, or $2 million. Less than 20 % of Marylanders say they are regular smokers, and between 1998 and 2006, smoking declined 21 %, according to DHMH.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. announced in February that its Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton hotel brands will implement a smoke-free policy at more than 300 hotels and resorts throughout the U.S., Caribbean and Canada. Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton have begun converting all smoking guestrooms to non-smoking in preparation for the new policy. In addition, all public areas will also be 100% smoke-free. Seventy hotels in the two chains are currently smoke-free, with the rest expected by the year's end. The new policy follows in the footsteps of their sister brand, Westin, who became the first hotel chain to go smoke-free in January 2006. Due to the overwhelming feedback from guests in North America, Westin hotels in Australia, Fiji, and Scotland have also gone smoke-free.

A New Jersey workers' compensation judge has ruled that an Atlantic City casino is responsible for lung cancer contracted by one of its dealers who has never smoked. In a preliminary ruling issued in February, Judge Cosmo Giovinazzi found that 10 years of secondhand smoke exposure materially contributed to Kam Wong's lung cancer, according to her attorney, Lawrence Mintz. Giovinazzi awarded Wong 60% partial disability, plus lost wages for the six-month period between her first and second lung surgeries, totaling about $150,000, Mintz said. Wong, 57, worked in the Asian gaming area at Claridge Casino Hotel in the 1990s as a dealer for baccarat, mini baccarat and pei gow poker games. "This was a hard-fought case," Mintz told the Press of Atlantic City. "It is slowly but surely becoming generally accepted that secondhand smoke is hazardous to your health." A trio of Italian researchers have documented a statistically significant reduction in acute coronary events in the adult population after an indoor smoking ban was enacted in Rome in 2005. "The size of the effect was consistent with the pollution reduction observed in indoor public places and with the known health effects of passive smoking," states their report. "The results affirm that public interventions that prohibit smoking can have enormous public health implications." The paper is available online at

In the first global initiative of its kind, the International Union Against Cancer (UICC) and its members around the world are leading an initiative to promote smoke-free environments for children. The "I love my smoke-free childhood" initiative was launched on World Cancer Day, February 4. It is designed to promote clean indoor air around children in cars, at daycare centers and at home. To back these messages, UICC published a 40-page expert report titled "Protecting Our Children Against Secondhand Smoke." The initiative is the first project undertaken by the World Cancer Campaign, a five-year cancer-prevention effort launched on World Cancer Day 2007. The Campaign offers parents simple steps to share with children to prevent cancer later in life. For more information visit

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 07-10 with the California Department of Public Health, Tobacco Control Section.

Content provided by the Tobacco Prevention Project of Contra Costa Health Services.

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