Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County
318 N. Main St., PO Box 75
Trenton, FL  32693

Gilchrist County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 10, Issue 2 / Apr - June, 2016
Gilchrist County Recognizes Annual Tobacco Free Florida Week
May 13, 2016

     The week of May 8-14 marked the annual celebration of Tobacco Free Florida Week throughout the state.  Members of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County (TFP) worked to make sure that as many community members as possible were reached. This year’s message focused on the dangers of secondhand smoke, and the fact that there is no safe level of exposure to secondhand smoke.  The Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida designed a poster campaign to highlight this message, and it was especially aimed at encouraging Floridians to not smoke around children.
     The idea in Gilchrist County was to educate as many people as possible, as well as provide people with 3 Ways to Quit information during Tobacco Free Florida Week. As a result, ten locations throughout the county displayed posters (in English and Spanish), and had cessation information available. These locations included:

  • Palms Medical Group – Trenton Office, Trenton Pediatrics, and Bell locations
  • Troke Realty
  • Department of Health in Gilchrist County & Dental Clinic
  • Trenton Animal Hospital
  • Trenton Library
  • Best Drugs
  • Gilchrist County Journal
  • QuitDoc Foundation, Trenton Office

     In addition, Bell Middle School SWAT 4-H club members held an afternoon event to educate their peers about secondhand smoke, and the Gilchrist County Chamber of Commerce connected members who wanted to participate via the weekly newsletter.

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SWAT Spotlight: Long-Time SWAT Leader Josh Akin Graduates from Trenton High School
June 7, 2016

     As school comes to an end and graduations are held across the county, it is time for us to say goodbye to one of our hardest working SWAT members, Joshua Akin, as he finishes his high school career.  Joshua was in 7th grade when he joined the Trenton SWAT club making him one of the longest serving SWAT members in Gilchrist County.
     Joshua has served in several leadership positions as a SWAT member, including acting as our county representative to regional SWAT meetings.  He was part of the SWAT youth delegation that helped celebrate the smoke-free stands at the Daytona Speedway and represented Gilchrist County SWAT at the event.  He was the Vice President of the Trenton SWAT club, and also served on the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County for several years as an Advisory Council member.
     In addition to his leadership activities, Joshua spent many hours during his SWAT club membership working with local, state, and national leaders.  Locally, Joshua was proud to be an integral part of working with the cities of Trenton and Fanning Springs and the Town of Bell to pass flavored tobacco resolutions in each municipality.  Never one to back away from a public speaking opportunity, Joshua even presented to his school board about current issues with tobacco and youth, and asked them to consider strengthening their tobacco policy.  Although they didn’t change the policy that day, a few months later tobacco use and possession were added as a higher level offenses, and e-cigarettes were included as tobacco in school policy.
E-cigarettes causing nicotine poisoning ‘epidemic’ for kids, experts warn
May 16, 2016

     The growing popularity of e-cigarettes has put more kids at risk of nicotine poisoning, leading to hospitalizations, coma and in one case, death, according to a national study.
     The study, published in Pediatrics, analyzed calls to poison centres and found that the number of e-cigarette calls increased 15-fold by the end of the 40-month study. The monthly number of calls involving e-cigarettes increased from 14 to 223, between 2012 and 2015.
     “That by any definition is an epidemic,” said Dr. Gary Smith, the lead author of the study and Director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
     In Central Florida, the number of calls for e-cigarette exposure increased from three in 2011 to 11 in 2015, said Adam Wood, clinical toxicologist at Nemours Children’s Hospital. Statewide, that number rose from eight to 105 during that period.
     It’s been known for decades that nicotine is a toxic substance, particularly for kids, but the rapid growth of the e-cigarette industry has made it more accessible to small children at home.
     There are now more than 400 brands and 7,700 flavours of liquid nicotine, since e-cigarettes entered the U.S. market in 2007. Many of the e-cigarettes and refill containers are not child proof.
FDA takes significant steps to protect Americans from dangers of tobacco through new regulation
May 5, 2016

     Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized a rule extending its authority to all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, cigars, hookah tobacco and pipe tobacco, among others. This historic rule helps implement the bipartisan Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 and allows the FDA to improve public health and protect future generations from the dangers of tobacco use through a variety of steps, including restricting the sale of these tobacco products to minors nationwide.
     “We have more to do to help protect Americans from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine, especially our youth. As cigarette smoking among those under 18 has fallen, the use of other nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, has taken a drastic leap. All of this is creating a new generation of Americans who are at risk of addiction,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “Today’s announcement is an important step in the fight for a tobacco-free generation – it will help us catch up with changes in the marketplace, put into place rules that protect our kids and give adults information they need to make informed decisions.”
     Tobacco use is a significant public health threat. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States and responsible for 480,000 deaths per year. While there has been a significant decline in the use of traditional cigarettes among youth over the past decade, their use of other tobacco products continues to climb. A recent survey supported by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows current e-cigarette use among high school students has skyrocketed from 1.5 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2015 (an over 900 percent increase) and hookah use has risen significantly.
Florida Supreme Court To Take Up Tobacco Damages Dispute
May 27, 2016

     The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to take up a case in which an appeals court rejected a $30 million punitive-damages award against R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co, according to an online docket. 
     The Broward County lawsuit, filed by the widow of late smoker James Schoeff, is part of thousands of what are known as "Engle progeny" cases filed in Florida against tobacco companies.
     Those cases are linked to a 2006 Supreme Court ruling that established critical findings about the health dangers of smoking and misrepresentation by cigarette makers.
     In the Schoeff case, a jury ruled against R.J. Reynolds and set compensatory damages at $10.5 million and punitive damages at $30 million.
     The compensatory damages amount was reduced to $7.875 million because Schoeff was found to be 25 percent at fault for his lung cancer and death. The 4th District Court of Appeal last year ordered reconsideration of the award of $30 million in punitive damages, which would top the previous high of $25 million in Engle cases.

      Attorneys for Schoeff's widow, Joan, asked the Supreme Court to take up issues related to the compensatory and punitive damages. In a brief filed in December, for example, they raised questions about limits on punitive damages in Engle cases.
California Raises Smoking Age to 21
May 5, 2016

     California has passed legislation raising its smoking age from 18 to 21 for most of its citizens.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a series of bills Wednesday, which also place new restrictions on where people can smoke and the sale of electronic cigarettes.
     "[These laws] will save countless lives, reduce astronomical costs to the health care system, and cost very little because it uses existing enforcement mechanisms," said Senator Ed Hernandez, who authored the bill to raise the age of tobacco products. "Today was an enormous victory for not only this generation, but also for many generations to come who will not suffer the deadly impacts of tobacco."
     The American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society's Cancer Action Network (the group's advocacy affiliate), the American Lung Association and the president of the California Medical Association all expressed support for the new law.
     The initial bill made it illegal for everyone under the age of 21 to buy tobacco products, but some argued if 18-year-olds can be drafted or volunteer to fight and die for their country, they should be allowed to buy tobacco products.
A stipulation was later added to exempt active duty military personnel 18 and over.
Hawaii became the first state in the nation to raise their smoking age on January 1, following the lead of more than 100 cities, including San Francisco, Boston and New York.
     The new laws also ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to anyone under 21 and restricts where they can be used in public places.
     That stipulation was swiftly condemned by the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association, which called the limitations to vapor products, some of which contain no tobacco, "counterproductive to public health."
FGCU Initiates Smoking and Tobacco Free Campus Policy
May 11, 2016

      Florida Gulf Coast University has finally initiated their smoke and tobacco-free campus policy. Going smoke and tobacco free has been in discussion since February 2015 and as of May 9, the university campus has joined 1,500 other college campuses nationwide in this policy to encourage healthy and safe environments.
     The new policy, entitled “Regulation: FGCU-PR9.007,” details the banning of smoking and the use of tobacco products within buildings and on university premises. It details that students, faculty and staff will no longer be able to smoke or use tobacco products in the following forms: lit cigarettes, cigars and pipes, electronic cigarettes or personal vaporizers, smokeless tobacco (e.g. chewing tobacco and snuff), and any form of tobacco taken orally or inhaled through the nose.
     The new policy also includes details on the consumption of food within university buildings and facilities, noting that food and drink may only be consumed in areas designated for doing so.
     UPD has already confirmed that they will not be enforcing the policy, rather, the Smoke-Free Tobacco-Free Implementation Committee (SFTFCC) will be handing all consequences of violating the policy. Additionally, the new policy makes no mention of smoking cannabis, however, the university has prior policies banning the use, distribution and possession of controlled substances.
Tony Gwynn’s Family Sues Tobacco Industry, Seeking Recourse Over Fatal Habit
May 23, 2016

     The family of Tony Gwynn, a baseball Hall of Famer who died of salivary gland cancer in 2014, filed a wrongful-death lawsuit Monday against the tobacco industry, charging that Gwynn had been manipulated into the addiction to smokeless tobacco that ultimately killed him.
     The suit was filed in Superior Court in San Diego against
Altria Group Inc., the tobacco giant formerly known as Philip Morris, and several other defendants who are accused of inducing Gwynn to begin using smokeless tobacco, or dip, at San Diego State University, which he attended from 1977 to 1981 and where he later coached after a 20-year career with the San Diego Padres.
     For 31 years — 1977 to 2008 — Gwynn used one and a half to two cans of smokeless tobacco (usually Skoal) per day. It was the equivalent, the suit says, of four to five packs of cigarettes every day for 31 years. Gwynn would dip Skoal immediately upon waking up, the suit said, and sometimes fall asleep with the product in his right lip and cheek area.
     There are no damages specified in the complaint, which asks for a jury trial on grounds of negligence, fraud and product liability. Essentially, the complaint says that Gwynn, while in college, was the victim of a scheme to get him, a rising star athlete, addicted to smokeless tobacco, while knowing the dangers it posed to him. The suit says that the industry was undergoing a determined effort at the time to market its products to African-Americans, and that Gwynn was a “marketing dream come true” for the defendants.
     “Now that the family understands how he was targeted, they understand that the industry knew they had this highly carcinogenic product and they were marketing it to people like Tony,” said David S. Casey, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs.
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