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

Highlands County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 2 / April - June, 2013
Highlands County Board of County Commissioners Adopts a Resolution Asking Retailers to Stop the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products that Target Youth.
June 18, 2013

     On June 18, 2013, the Highlands County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed a Resolution encouraging local retailers to voluntarily halt the sale of flavored tobacco products targeting youth.
     The resolution was brought forward by the Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County to draw attention to the growing problem of flavored tobacco products that are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). While the FDA banned the sale of flavored cigarettes in September 2009, flavored cigars, spit tobacco, and electronic cigarettes have exploded in the marketplace. The FDA has been granted the authority to regulate these products under The Family Tobacco Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009), they have yet to exercise that authority over the growing list of flavored products.
     June Fisher, The Highlands County Administrator, read the Resolution into the public record before the vote. “Research published in 2005 from the Harvard School of Public Health found that cigarette makers are targeting young smokers with new candy and liqueur-flavored brands that mask the harsh toxic properties found in tobacco smoke. National studies have found that the vast majority of consumers of these flavored tobacco products are youth and young adults, and local research indicates that most of the local tobacco retailers sell various flavored tobacco products… that appeal to those same consumers.”
Sandblast at the Beach:
Students Working Against Tobacco Host
Their Annual Event!

April 14, 2013 

     Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) and Pinellas County hosted the annual Sandblast event “Treasure Island” on St. Petersburg Municipal Beach on April 14th, 2013. The purpose of this event was to coordinate youth advocacy efforts with 15 SWAT county chapters of SWAT with the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida. Two of Highlands County’s SWAT members, Tatiana Matos and Iesha Spencer, attended the event this year.
     The students created and manned a Pledge Booth, where participants attending the event drew outlines of their hands and pledged not to use tobacco products by writing five reasons inside the outline. Amongst brightly colored tents and large blow up slides, the Gulf of Mexico and the stretch of sandy white beaches provided a perfect backdrop for SWAT students as they educated over 400 middle school-aged youth with anti-tobacco messages.
Quit Doc’s Dr. Barry Hummel Speaks to the Lake Placid
Rotary Club about the Tobacco Free Partnership
and Employer Cessation Benefits

May 16, 2013

     Dr. Barry Hummel, Co-Founder and Communications Director of the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, addressed the Lake Placid Rotary Club on tobacco prevention issues at their weekly meeting on May 16, 2013.
     Dr. Hummel shared information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County, and the goal of the coalition to reduce youth tobacco use locally.  “You may not think of it this way, but tobacco use is a Pediatric epidemic,” Dr. Hummel told the group.  “85% of new tobacco users start between the ages of 12 and 17, before it is even legal for them to purchase tobacco.”
     Dr. Hummel explained that this leads to roughly 440,000 deaths each year as a result of tobacco use.  â€œThese are adults that are dying, which is why we don’t think of it as a Pediatric problem,” added Dr. Hummel.  “The reality is that we need to do more to protect our children.”

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SWAT Students from North Florida and Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation Produce a Short Film on the Issue of Flavored Tobacco Products that Target Youth 
April 24, 2014
     Students from six counties in North Central Florida joined forces to write and produce "Who is the Target", a short film that focuses on the use of flavored products as a youth marketing strategy by tobacco companies.
     The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation helped produce the film, setting up a temporary studio at their office in Ocala, Florida. The staff converted a spare office by suspending a simple blue screen from the ceiling. "It is the same technique used by your local weatherman," said Dr. Barry Hummel, who directed the film. "It allows us to put graphic information behind the students during the editing process to reinforce each point they are trying to make."
     Fourteen students from Alachua, Clay, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, and Marion Counties were asked to contribute facts and information on the issue of flavored tobacco products that are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The students then recorded the information at the make-shift studio.
Click here to watch "Who is the Target?"
Holy E-Smokes! Some Businesses Allow Vaping Cigarettes in Workplace
By Tracy X. Miguel
     NAPLES â€” Where there’s smoking, there’s not always firing in the workplace.
     That’s because employees aren’t actually smoking on the job in some cases — they’re vaping.
     With the growing trend of electronic cigarettes, a few Southwest Florida businesses are allowing vaping in the workplace. Safety Harbour Insurance Inc., which serves Lee and Collier counties, allows its employees to e-puff away at work.
     â€œWe absolutely love it,” said manager Candace Nichols, who has been using e-cigarettes for nearly a year after smoking tobacco cigarettes for 13 years. “It cuts back on the extra break time, so we are able to be more productive within the business.”
President Obama's Cigarette Tax Up in Smoke
By Reid J. Epstein
     Remember the cigarette tax hike President Barack Obama proposed in his big budget rollout?
     The White House barely does.
     Presidential budgets are all about theater. But this year’s was more theatrical than most: Its biggest single new proposal — the sin tax to generate $78 billion to fund a preschool education program — vanished almost as soon as Obama announced it four weeks ago Wednesday.
     The president hasn’t mentioned it. The White House didn’t coordinate with outside anti-smoking groups. Tobacco companies never worried about putting together a lobbying strategy to kill it.
Wakulla County Continues Fight Against Flavored Tobacco
By Garin Flowers
    Wakulla County Commissioners voted unanimously Monday in favor of an ordinance making it harder for kids to purchase flavored tobacco.
     It means stores in that area must now put tobacco in places not easily seen by children or teens.
     The ordinance passed was a response to one commissioners had to rescind that passed previously.
     They feared the previous ordinance, which banned stores from selling tobacco products unless they were a 21-and-up establishment, would cause lawsuits against the county.

How The Tobacco Industry May Have Evaded FDA Ban On 'Light' Cigarette Descriptors
     New research from Harvard School of Public Health (HPSH) shows that one year after the federal government passed a law banning word descriptors such as "light," "mild," and "low" on cigarette packages, smokers can still easily identify their brands because of color-coding that tobacco companies added to "light" packs after the ban. These findings suggest that the companies have, in effect, been able to evade the ban on misleading wording - thus still conveying the false and deceptive message that lights are safer than "regular" cigarettes.
     In addition, the companies failed to apply for applications to have these products approved as "new products" as called for by the law.
City Plan Sets 21 as Legal Age to Buy Tobacco
By Anemona Hartocollis
     NEW YORK - The age to legally buy cigarettes in New York City would rise to 21 from 18 under a proposal that officials unveiled on Monday, a measure that would give New York the strictest limits of any major American city.
     The proposal would make the age for buying cigarettes and other tobacco products the same as for purchasing liquor, but it would not prohibit people under 21 from possessing or even smoking cigarettes.
     It is the latest effort in a persistent campaign to curb smoking that began soon after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took office, with bans on smoking in restaurants and bars that expanded more recently to parks, beaches, plazas and other public places.
Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Tobacco Warnings
By Sam Baker 

      The Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up tobacco companies' lawsuit against new rules requiring them to display large, graphic warnings on cigarette packages.
     The court declined to hear a case challenging the graphic warnings — along with other sections of a landmark 2009 tobacco law.
     The Supreme Court's refusal to hear the case leaves in place a lower court's decision upholding most of the tobacco law, including its requirement for graphic warning images on cigarette packs.
     The 2009 law requires tobacco companies to cover half of their packaging with a graphic warning about the risks of smoking.
Read Dr. Barry Hummel's Blog
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