Tobacco Free Partnership of Indian River County
1940 10th Avenue, Suite C3, Vero Beach, FL  32960

Indian River County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 6, Issue 1 / Jan - Mar, 2017
Indian River County Students Working Against Tobacco Kick Butts!
March 15, 2017

     Local Students Working Against Tobaco (SWAT) kicked butts at Oslo Middle School and Storm Grove Middle School in March!
     Kick Butts Day is recognized nationwide as a day to stand out, speak up, and seize control from the tobacco industry. Our local Students Working Against Tobacco showed their peers that tobacco, when used as intended, ultimately kills the consumer.
     Whether chalking up the sidewalks at Oslo or creating visuals with empty shoes at Storm Grove, these teens keep busy telling their peers the truth about tobacco use.
     Teens are targeted daily by the tobacco industry with flavors, cheap tobacco products, and in-your-face advertising, especially at convenience stores where teens regularly shop. Because most adults do not use tobacco, they don’t think about the advertising and how susceptible teens can be to messages from Big Tobacco.
      Big Tobacco continues to promote products to teens online, in stores, and in magazines. Throughout the year, SWAT is the only vocal source of anti-tobacco messaging on campus fighting big tobacco’s messages that encourage teens to try tobacco.
     If you want to start a SWAT Club at school, church or youth group, contact Leslie Spurlock, QuitDoc Foundation, at 772-577-3701 or

QuitDoc Foundation and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 10, 2017

     Sebastian, Fla. – QuitDoc Foundation and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program are raising awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco – like chew and dip – during Through With Chew Week. This national public awareness campaign was created to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people, and Tobacco Free Florida aims to help combat this deadly addiction. Through With Chew Week takes place Feb. 19-25, with the Great American Spit Out – a day when smokeless tobacco users join together to quit – on Feb. 23.
     Although the youth cigarette smoking rate in Florida decreased over 50 percent between 2012 and 2016, the number of Florida high school students who reported current use of smokeless tobacco products decreased only 24.5 percent in those same four years. The disproportionately higher rate of smokeless tobacco use in rural areas is also alarming – current youth smokeless tobacco use is more than three times higher in rural communities than in non-rural areas. In Indian River County 3.2 percent of youth ages 11-17 reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2016, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. Indian River’s rate is higher than the state’s rate of 2.2. Of Youth 11-17, 2.2 percent used flavored smokeless tobacco.
     “While we’re proud that youth smoking is at an all-time low, the number of young Floridians using smokeless tobacco is decreasing at a dramatically slower rate,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. "We need to do more to educate about the risks and deter our young people of using these products.”
     To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, QuitDoc Foundation is coordinating Through with Chew events in Indian River County. The events take place during the week of February 17-24th with Students Working Against Tobacco planning events at Sebastian River High School and Oslo Middle School. Students will be raising awareness among peers through the “Smokeless is Not Harmless” campaign.  The Indian River County Commission will present a proclamation for Through With Chew Week during their meeting on February 21, 2017 at 9:00am.

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Local Partnership Advocates for Legislation to Prevent Secondhand Smoke In Cars with Children
February 1, 2017

     Have you recently been exposed to second hand smoke in a closed space?
     Tobacco control policies in Florida have all but ensured we can breathe clean air indoors when at work, play and traveling. What if you had to travel in a car with a driver who is smoking? That’s what thousands of children in Florida do every day.
     Banning smoking in cars with children became priority one for Partnership members this year. Statistics are alarming. According to the 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, 53.9% of Indian River children are exposed to secondhand smoke or electronic vaping aerosols. Children in cars have no way to escape smoke or aerosol exhaled by the smoker or the smoke from a burning cigarette. Simply put, children traveling in vehicles with smokers do not have a choice.
     The Surgeon General states there is no safe level of secondhand smoke. The solution is to eliminate smoke completely from the environment. Secondhand smoke exacerbates asthma, ear infections, and bronchitis. Nearly 50,000 people also die from the effects of secondhand smoke every year.

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St. Petersburg City Council Bans Smokeless Tobacco at Rays Games
January 20, 2017

     ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Petersburg city council has given final approval to an ordinance banning use of smokeless tobacco products at organized sporting events, including baseball games at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays.
     The measure approved Thursday not only applies to players, coaches and managers, but anyone attending events at the sports venues around the city and is aimed at discouraging kids from using products such as chewing tobacco, snuff and dip.
     Tropicana Field is among 13 major league stadiums that will be tobacco-free for the 2017 season, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. In addition, baseball’s new labour contract bars smokeless tobacco use for any player with no current major league service.
     The St. Petersburg ordinance covers a wide range of sports and applies to all organized events and competition, amateur or professional.
     Other communities where action has been taken to prohibit the use of smokeless tobacco include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boston and Washington. Three others -- Anaheim, Oakland and San Diego -- are covered by a statewide law that is to take effect in California before the start of this season.
Ban on Flavored E-Cigarettes Inches Closer in New Jersey
February 27, 2017
Michael Symons

     Flavored electronic smoking products would be banned in New Jersey, under a proposal advanced Monday by an Assembly committee — but still remains four approvals away from reaching Gov. Chris Christie’s desk.
     Advocates for the plan see it as an extension of New Jersey’s ban on flavored cigarettes enacted in 2008 and say it’s intended to limit the attracting of vaping to younger people. But critics say it would cripple an industry with 350 stores in New Jersey and could send adults back to cigarettes.
     “Our strategy is to try to get people into adulthood mature enough so they never pick up smoking in the first place,” said Assemblyman Herb Conaway, D-Burlington.
“We’re trying to stop the attraction that these flavors bring to smoking and to the ingestion, if you will, of nicotine,” said Conaway, who said the bill “may need fine tuning” and that he’s willing to listen.
     Corinne Orlando, the American Heart Association director of government relations in New Jersey, said use of electronic cigarettes among students rose 900 percent from 2011 to 2015 – from 1.5 percent to 16 percent. Also, 5 percent of middle school students used e-cigarettes, Orlando said.
     “E-cigarette use is skyrocketing among our youth … and we’re finding that a lot of the times they’re using a flavored product,” Orlando said.
Gainesville, Florida to Ban Tobacco Use
March 2, 2017
Andrew Caplan

     The city of Gainesville is one step closer to banning smoking at all city-owned parks and Regional Transit Systems bus stops.
     Commissioners unanimously approved a first reading of a draft which bans all forms of smoking, including vaping and electronic cigarettes, at locations, while including a $25 fine for offenders.
     "I think when we're having this discussion, the reason we're going to say 'tobacco and smoke free' is because it impedes the other people's rights," Commissioner Craig Carter said.
     The initiative was set forth by the city's parks, recreation and cultural affairs department in hopes of preventing second-hand smoke and to deter young people from picking up the habit.
     Additionally, offenders are subject to fines if caught smoking within 20 feet of any RTS facility or bus stop.
     Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos said citizens and kids deserve to have smoke-free parks and public spaces.
     Steve Phillips, the director of the parks department, previously said staff will be on the front line of the effort and monitoring the parks. However, they will not have authority to issue the citations.
     The city will likely allow a grace period for the public to be made aware before citations are issued and will need to approve a second reading of the draft before adopting the ordinance, Phillips said.
Business Groups, Once Tobacco-Friendly, Switch Sides in Fight
February 28, 2017
Jilian Mincer

     The local chamber of commerce is usually a reliable ally in battles against regulation. But when it comes to smoking rules, many business groups have decided they would rather switch than fight.
     Even in states where tobacco has played an important role in the economy - including North Carolina, Kentucky and Missouri -chambers have endorsed cigarette tax hikes, raising the smoking age and other efforts to curb tobacco habits.
     The shift has accelerated since 2016, driven by a growing awareness that smoking drives up healthcare costs for employers, business groups said.'
     Smoking restrictions often are part of broader wellness initiatives, such as promoting exercise and nutrition, aimed at improving health - and business.
     "Smoking isn't just killing us, it's bankrupting us," said Ashli Watts, a spokeswoman with the Chamber of Commerce for Kentucky, where one in four adults uses tobacco, the lung cancer rate is the nation's highest and related healthcare and lost productivity costs nearly $5 billion a year.
     "Companies do look at the health of a workforce," Watts said. An unhealthy workforce "is a deterrent."
E-Cig Risk: Teens Who Vape More Likely to Start Smoking Tobacco
February 7, 2017
By Rachael Rettner

     Teens who "vape" in high school are at increased risk for using tobacco cigarettes in the future, a new study found.

     The study discovered that teens who use electronic cigarettes, a practice also referred to as vaping, in the 12th grade were four times more likely to start smoking tobacco cigarettes within the next year, compared with teens who didn't vape in the 12th grade.
     The findings "contribute to the growing body of evidence supporting vaping as a 'one-way bridge' to cigarette smoking among youth," the researchers wrote in their study, published online today (Feb. 7) in the journal Tobacco Control.
     When using an electronic cigarette, teens inhale vapor that may contain nicotine, as well as flavors such as bubble gum or milk-chocolate cream, the researchers said.
     E-cigarettes are often advertised as safer alternatives to tobacco cigarettes, because the electronic variety's vapor contains fewer chemicals known to be harmful to humans, compared with traditional cigarette smoke. However, researchers are still investigating the health effects of e-cigarettes, and some studies have suggested that e-cigarette use still poses health hazards, such as an increased risk for markers of heart disease.
     Other studies have suggested that teens who use e-cigarettes are more likely to start smoking regular tobacco cigarettes, compared to teens who don't use e-cigarettes.
Depression Linked to E-Cigarette Use Among College Students
February 13, 2017

HOUSTON – The emergence of e-cigarettes as a nicotine product has left scientists with many questions about their impact on health, including how the product interacts with depression. A new study by researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), published today in Nicotine & Tobacco Research, found a connection between depression and initiation of e-cigarette use among college students.
     “This is the first study to establish a longitudinal relationship between elevated depressive symptoms and e-cigarette use,” said lead author Frank Bandiera, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth School of Public Health in Dallas.
     Among a sample of 5,445 undergraduate students from 24 colleges across Texas, students who experienced elevated levels of depressive symptoms were significantly more likely than students who did not experience elevated levels of depressive symptoms to start using e-cigarettes six months later. However, e-cigarette use did not appear to lead to elevated depression levels among the students.

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