Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County
227 US 27 North, Suite 208, Sebring, FL  33870

Highlands County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 5, Issue 4 / Oct - Dec, 2016
Traditional Tobacco Use Continues to Decrease Among Highlands County Youth, but E-Cigarette Use Continues to Rise
November 11, 2016

     We are excited to announce the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey Results for Highlands County, as well as the statewide data for 2016 is in! This is something the Tobacco Free Partnership and SWAT Students in Highlands County look forward to every other year!
     The Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) was administered in the spring of 2016. A total of 753 public high schools and middle schools in the 67 Florida counties participated in the FYTS. There were 69,640 students who participated in the 2016 FYTS; 33,558 at the high school level and 36,082 at the middle school level. This data is way for public health professionals, students, teachers, parents, and the public to explore data pertaining to youth tobacco use.
     In Highlands County, we are happy to announce a decrease in the percentage of youth who have tried cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco. In fact, there was a 3.7% drop in those that have tried cigarettes, 6.7% drop in those that have tried cigars and a 2.5% drop in those that have tried smokeless tobacco.
     Additionally, we see similar drops in the percentage of youth who currently use cigarettes (3.7% decrease), cigars (4.6% decrease) and smokeless (.3% decrease). For years, tobacco prevention has been at the forefront of providing education and information to decrease the use of tobacco in the Country, State of Florida and in Highlands County. It seems the work continues to pay off as we have seen a decrease in cigarettes, cigars and smokeless for several years now.

     However, the raging epidemic of electronic cigarettes, hookah and vaping that Big Tobacco has created is making a mess of the hard work that we have done to minimize tobacco use in this country. We are seeing these effects nationwide, statewide and throughout Highlands County. In fact, since 2014 there has been an 8.2% increase in the percentage of youth in Highlands County who currently use electronic vaping, and a 13.1% increase in the percentage of youth in Highlands County who have ever tried electronic vaping. Additionally, we also see an increase 3.5% in the number of youth in Highlands County who have tried hookah.

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Local Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Attend Region Meeting in Wauchula County
November 11, 2016

     Hurricane Matthew may have cancelled the originally scheduled Regional SWAT Retreat, but it didn’t dampen spirits during the make-up meeting held on November 5, 2016 at the Hardee County Health Department in Wauchula, Florida. Kyle and Hannah Workington, two of our top students from Lake Placid High School, attended to represent the SWAT Chapter of Highlands County. The morning was kicked off with interactive icebreaker activities to introduce themselves to other region 3 SWAT members and to get to know them for the remaining of the day filled with group activities.
     Kyle is in his junior year at Lake Placid High School and has been a part of the dual SWAT/PAC club since he was in 7th grade. He currently serves as the club Vice President, is the President of the Junior Class, in National Honor Society and was the SWAT Club King at Homecoming in 2015 and 2016. Kyle plans on pursuing a career in either IT or in Politics and is smart enough to do it! “Kyle is an incredibly smart young man, has a great head on his shoulders, is always willing to help out and I love his enthusiasm for tobacco prevention. He is a STELLAR SWAT youth and a great candidate for next year’s Youth Advocacy Board. The SWAT Chapter of Highlands County is lucky to have such a strong leader,” said Amanda John.
     His younger sister Hannah, has been in PAC since she was in 6th Grade. She is currently in her Freshman year at Lake Placid High School and is one of the most active and dependable SWAT Students in the entire SWAT Chapter of Highlands County. She currently does not hold an office, but will be encouraged to do so next year. She was also the SWAT Club Queen at Homecoming in 2016. “We are so lucky to have such a devoted, sweet and caring young girl in our SWAT Chapter of Highlands County and are super thrilled that she has 3 more years in SWAT before she graduates. This girl will move mountains and is an awesome voice for tobacco prevention in Highlands County, as well as statewide,” said Amanda John.

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Florida Adult and Teen Smoking Rates Hit Record Low
November 14, 2016

     Tallahassee, Fla.—Ten years ago this month, Floridians voted overwhelmingly in support of a state constitutional amendment to fund a tobacco education and use prevention program, now known as Tobacco Free Florida. The program has resulted in a significant decrease in smoking rates among both adults and teens in the state, leading to billions of dollars and countless lives saved.

     “With voter support, this program was launched a decade ago and Tobacco Free Florida has had a tremendous impact on improving the health of Floridians,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. “While Tobacco Free Florida is a national leader in tobacco control, there is still more work to be done. The tobacco industry is constantly finding new ways to target vulnerable populations, and more of our youth are experimenting with a range of new options rather than using traditional products such as cigarettes."
     In 2006, the smoking rate was flattening and the state was spending billions of dollars on health care costs. Further, Florida was receiving money from its lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies, but only a small percentage was being spent on a tobacco control program. By mandating the creation of Tobacco Free Florida, Florida voters ensured that a comprehensive program benefitting Floridians’ health and the state’s finances would be funded by 15 percent of the annual settlement amount – not taxpayer dollars.
     Tobacco Free Florida’s beneficial impact is proven in numbers:
In 2006, the adult smoking rate was 21 percent. In 2016, it stands at 15.8 percent – the lowest it has ever been.
2) Fewer young people have started smoking since Tobacco Free Florida was created. The youth smoking rate has decreased from 10.6 percent in 2006 to 3 percent in 2015 – an astounding 71 percent decrease.
3) The program has saved the state $3.2 billion in health care costs. Annual smoking- related health care costs in Florida decreased 15 percent from 2006 to 2015 as a result of fewer adults smoking.
     Since Tobacco Free Florida’s hard-hitting advertising launched, quit attempts across the state have increased and the campaign has been linked to reducing relapses among those who quit. Exposure to the program’s message has also caused positive shifts in smokers’ attitudes towards quitting.
Studies Find Two Ways E-Cigs Are More Likely to Lead Teens to Smoke Cigarettes
November 15, 2016

     Recent studies have found that teenagers who use
e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes. But it turns out it’s not just whether teens vape that predicts whether they'll start smoking later: Frequent vaping or using flavored e-cigs is also associated with an elevated risk of becoming a regular cigarette smoker, two new studies show.
     To find out if the frequency of vaping was tied to the risk of becoming a smoker, Adam Leventhal, Ph.D., director of the Health, Emotion and Addiction Laboratory at the University of Southern California, and his colleagues surveyed about 3,300 California 10th graders. The teens answered questions about whether they used
e-cigarettes, and if so, how often. Six months later, the researchers followed up.
     “We found that the more you vape, the more likely you were to be a cigarette smoker six months later, and the more likely you were to be smoking multiple cigarettes per day,” says Leventhal, whose study was published in
     The difference was stark. At the time of the follow-up, less than 1 percent of those who had never used e-cigs and only about 5 percent of those who were infrequent users (vaping just one or two days during that month) had become frequent cigarette smokers, which the study defined as people who had smoked at least three times in the past 30 days. In contrast, nearly 20 percent of the teens who had been vaping three or more days a month were—at the time of the follow-up—frequent cigarette smokers (defined as having at least two cigarettes on the days they smoked).
     While it’s too early to generalize from a study of 3,300 California 10th graders, the results suggest that the frequency of vaping may be a key risk factor in a teen’s decision to take up smoking later.
Vaporized: Smokeless Tobacco Retailer Totally Wicked Shutting Down
Decision to Close Follows New FDA Warning, Labeling Requirements for Smokeless Tobacco Products
November 11, 2016

      Totally Wicked, a Tampa-area based e-cigarette retailer that claims to be the first American firm to open a brick and mortar vape shop, announced it is shutting down and said the days of the independent vape shop are numbered.
     While Totally Wicked operates just six stores in Northeast Florida and one in Youngstown, Ohio, the reason cited for its decision to shut down could also reverberate among an estimated 3,000 other small retail vape locations.
     Fraser Cropper, managing director of Totally Wicked, cited new e-cigarette regulations issued this year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the primary reason for closing its doors.
     The FDA is not specifically shutting down Totally Wicked. Rather this month it began formal oversight over e-cigarettes, banning sales to minors and requiring new marketing restrictions and health warnings on labels for smokeless tobacco products.
     “With the stroke of a pen, the FDA is demanding fantastically unrealistic pre-market tobacco authorizations for a product that contains no tobacco, at a cost that is prohibitive to all but the tobacco giants, and bears no relations to the products’ risk or indeed, its remarkable potential when compared to the raging tobacco epidemic,” Cropper said. “It is designed quite simply to destroy the industry.”
     By the end of 2018, there will be no independent vaping industry left within the USA, Cropper claimed.
     While there is general agreement that e-cigarettes are likely less harmful than traditional tobacco-filled cigarettes and may be helpful in weaning smokers off traditional cigarettes, supporters say the new regulations are warranted since e-cigarettes contain nicotine or a synthetic version of the addictive chemical compound, and befit the danger cited by public health officials and other experts that the product encourages smoking by minors and creates other health risks.

      Totally Wicked’s smokeless tobacco products are resold at about 120 other retail outlets across the country. Its stores average about 1,800 square feet. At that average, there could be risks to as much as 5.4 million square feet of vape shop leased to generally smaller retail landlords.
HUD Secretary Castro Announces Public Housing to Be Smoke Free
New rule protects health and safety of residents, saves PHAs millions of dollars in preventable damage
November 30, 2016

     WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro today announced that public housing developments in the U.S. will now be required to provide a smoke-free environment for their residents. In an address to local public housing officials, residents and public health professionals in Boston, Secretary Castro said HUD's new rule will provide resources and support to more than 3,100 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) to implement required smoke-free policies over the next 18 months. Read HUD's final rule.
     Throughout this year, HUD worked with PHAs and stakeholders collaboratively to finalize this rule, which prohibits lit tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars or pipes) in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and administrative office buildings. HUD's final rule included input from more than 1,000 comments from PHAs, housing and health partners, and tenant advocates.
     "Every child deserves to grow up in a safe, healthy home free from harmful second-hand cigarette smoke," said Secretary Castro. "HUD's smoke-free rule is a reflection of our commitment to using housing as a platform to create healthy communities. By working collaboratively with public housing agencies, HUD's rule will create healthier homes for all of our families and prevent devastating and costly smoking-related fires."
     Since 2009, HUD has strongly encouraged PHAs to adopt smoke-free policies in their buildings and common areas, a policy many private housing developments already have in place.
Baseball’s New Labor Agreement Makes Progress on Removing Tobacco From the Game, But Cities Need to Finish the Job – for Our Kids
Statement of Matthew L. Myers, President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
December 1, 2016

     WASHINGTON, D.C. — The new collective bargaining agreement reached last night by Major League Baseball owners and players takes a major step forward in removing tobacco from the game by prohibiting all new MLB players from using smokeless tobacco, like chew, dip and snuff. Combined with the fact that 12 Major League cities already have prohibitions on tobacco use at their baseball parks by all players and team personnel, baseball is now on a clear path to become tobacco-free in the very near future.
     While we had hoped for a complete prohibition on smokeless tobacco in baseball in the new agreement, this is a major step forward and represents the first time the players and owners have a made a clear commitment to fully eliminating smokeless tobacco use in baseball. We commend the owners for recognizing that baseball should set the right example for young fans and making this issue a priority in the negotiations.
     Nonetheless, the fact that the agreement allows current players to continue using smokeless tobacco means that it takes too long to solve the problem. It is critical that quicker action be taken so that millions of children are not exposed to their heroes using smokeless tobacco. Thus, it is essential that more Major League cities act now to prohibit smokeless tobacco use at sports venues so another generation of kids does not grow up watching their baseball idols use tobacco. Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product.
     Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have all passed laws prohibiting tobacco use at sports venues, including their professional baseball stadiums. A statewide law in California will also take effect before the 2017 season. Once all of these laws are implemented, 12 of the 30 Major League stadiums will be tobacco-free.
Hazardous Chemicals Discovered in Flavored E-Cigarette Vapor
November 10, 2016

     RENO – Building on more than 30 years of air quality research in some of the most polluted urban environments on Earth, a team of atmospheric scientists at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) has turned their attention toward the growing e-cigarette industry and the unidentified effects of vaping on human health.
     New research published today in Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T), a journal of the American Chemical Society, reports that the aerosols (commonly called vapors) produced by flavored e-cigarettes liquids contain dangerous levels of hazardous chemicals known to cause cancer in humans.

     The study Flavoring compounds dominate toxic aldehyde production during e-cigarette vapingconfirms that these toxic aldehydes, such as formaldehyde, are formed not by evaporation, but rather during the chemical breakdown of the flavored e-liquid caused by the rapid heating process (pyrolysis) that occurs inside e-cigarettes or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS).
     “How these flavoring compounds in e-cigarette liquids affect the chemical composition and toxicity of the vapor that e-cigarettes produce is practically unknown,” explained Andrey Khlystov, Ph.D., an associate research professor of atmospheric sciences at DRI. “Our results show that production of toxic aldehydes is exponentially dependent on the concentration of flavoring compounds.”
     E-cigarette liquids have been marketed in nearly 8,000 different flavors, according to a 2014 report from the World Health Organization. Recent reports have shown that many flavors, such as Gummy Bear, Tutti Fruitty, Bubble Gum, etc., were found to be especially appealing to adolescents and young adults.

     The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that 16-percent of high school and 5.3-percent of middle school students were current users of e-cigarettes in 2015, making e-cigarettes the most commonly used tobacco product among youth for the second consecutive year.

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