Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County
211 North Main Street, Trenton, FL  32693

Gilchrist County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 11, Issue 1 / Jan - Mar, 2017
Gilchrist County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Celebrate Kick Butts Day!
March 17, 2017

     March has been a busy month for Gilchrist County SWAT.  Kick Butts Day was celebrated this month, which is a national observance held by youth around the entire country to bring focus in their local communities about the ways tobacco companies intentionally target young people through point-of-purchase advertising and other marketing techniques designed to encourage youth initiation of tobacco products.
     Trenton SWAT held their Kick Butts Day observance at the middle and high school to reach a larger number of youth.  SWAT youth set up a banner urging students to take a stand against all forms of tobacco.  This included letting other youth know that tobacco products actually contain some nasty chemicals.  Students signed their names to the banner as a symbol of their personal stand against tobacco. SWAT youth interacted with students in each grade level which enabled them to reach over 200 students with a tobacco-free message.  The Bell SWAT club chose to organize a poster campaign earlier in the month with messages intended to warn students about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use.  Both SWAT events brought attention and energy to this issue, and it is the hope of Gilchrist SWAT members that their efforts will pay off by creating a change in the social norms about youth tobacco use. We already saw evidence of youth attitudes changing during the Trenton SWAT stand against tobacco event. When asked if he would sign his name to stand against tobacco one high school student said, “Absolutely, I will! No one should use the stuff!” Other students expressed similar sentiments regarding their willingness to make a stand against tobacco during these events, as well.

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Youth E-Cigarette Use On the Rise in Florida
By Tracy DeCubellis
March 21, 2017

     Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are fast becoming a threat to the historically low use of tobacco products among Florida youth.
     The e-cigarette was invented in 2004, making it a fairly new product on the market which has just recently come under state and federal regulations. 
For over a decade e-cigarettes and other nicotine vaporizer products were on the market before any substantial regulations were enacted, including the way e-cigarettes were advertised. Florida law officially banned the sale of e-cigarettes to minors starting on July 1, 2014 and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) initiated deeming regulations in 2016.

     However, in the absence of marketing regulations, e-cigarette companies wasted no time following in the footsteps of traditional Big Tobacco, marketing by advertising their products in ways that especially appeal to youth. Flavors and colors were added to attract younger users. Music festivals, concerts and other events were sponsored by e-cigarette companies. Television and radio commercials, which are off-limits for traditional tobacco products, were used to send the message that e-cigarettes provide a cool, hip way for young people to “be free” or be more “adult”.
     Apparently, young people were paying attention to these e-cigarette advertising campaigns. The 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) results have been released and the data indicate a substantial increase in the number of young people who use e-cigarettes in our state.  According to the 2016 survey results, 6.4% of middle school students are current e-cigarette users and 18% of high school students are current e-cigarette users.
     The first year e-cigarette use was measured by the FYTS was 2012. Between 2012-2016, the percent change in e-cigarette use by middle school student was 300% and the percent change for high school students was 445.5%. The number of young Floridians using e-cigarettes continues to rise each year and the number is now more than three times higher than the number of youth who smoke traditional cigarettes.

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

     Trenton, 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. 8.4% of youth ages 11-17 in Gilchrist County reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2016, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.
     “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 working with area dental clinics and dentist offices including the Gilchrist County Department of Health Dental Clinic, Palms Medical Dental Clinic, and Dental Office of Dr. Cox in Trenton to spread awareness of the dangers of smokeless tobacco, as well as providing cessation information during the week of Through With Chew Week from February 19-25.

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The Issue of Smokeless Tobacco
January 17, 2017

     Smokeless tobacco is not burned, contains nicotine and is addictive. Smokeless tobacco is typically called spit tobacco, chewing tobacco, chew, dip, plug, and probably a few other things. Types of smokeless tobacco include:

  • chewing tobacco, which comes in the form of loose leaf, plug, or twist. The most common, loose leaf, is usually packaged in foil pouches. Chewing tobacco is placed between the cheek and gums.
  • snuff is finely ground tobacco that can be dry, moist, or packaged in pouches or packets. Some types of snuff are sniffed or inhaled into the nose; other types are placed in the mouth. Moist snug, the most common, is often called dip. It’s placed between the cheek or lip and gums; it requires spitting. Snus is a newer form of moist snuff used in the United States.
  • dissolvables are finely ground tobacco pressed into shapes such as tablets, sticks, or strips. These products slowly dissolve in the mouth. They come in the form of lozenges, orbs, sticks, and strips.
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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