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

Gilchrist County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 9, Issue 1 / Jan - Mar, 2015
Florida Youth Tobacco Survey Results Show a Sharp Decline in Youth Tobacco Use in Gilchrist County
by Tracy DeCubellis, Feburary 3, 2015

     The county level data from the 2014 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) were published and there is a lot to celebrate among Gilchrist County Tobacco Free Partnership members, SWAT members, and community partners who support the tobacco prevention program.
     Quit Doc first received the tobacco prevention grant in 2008 after the FYTS was given to county high school students.  Unfortunately, the middle school students did not participate in the 2008 survey, but we can measure our progress among middle school youth starting with the 2010 FYTS.
     Among high school students we see a significant change in tobacco use in all areas including cigarettes, cigars, smokeless, and all types of tobacco combined. Gilchrist Middle School students do not differ statistically from their peers in the state, which is a big accomplishment!

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QuitDoc Awarded Tobacco Prevention Grant for Gilchrist County
February 6, 2015

     Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation (QuitDoc) has once again been awarded a grant from the State of Florida Department of Health to continue to provide tobacco awareness and prevention programs throughout Gilchrist County.  The programs are designed to reduce the number of teenagers who start smoking each year, to decrease the number of tobacco related deaths, and to provide information on appropriate methods to quit smoking.
     The program is funded from a trust fund created with money paid to Florida as part of a settlement with the tobacco industry in 1997.   Florida sued the tobacco industry to recoup the cost of providing medical services to Florida residents that were caused by the use of tobacco.  The funding has been used to create Tobacco Free Florida, a comprehensive statewide tobacco prevention and cessation program.
     “The Tobacco Free Florida program has been incredibly successful at reducing tobacco use among youth and adults in Florida,” reports Dr. Barry Hummel, a Pediatrician who co-founded QuitDoc.  “Use of traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and spit tobacco are now at historic lows in the state among all age groups."
    
Tobacco Free Florida funds a local program in each of Florida’s 67 counties to focus on tobacco prevention issues that are unique to each community.
     In Gilchrist County, the program will continue to be managed by Tracy DeCubellis, the county’s Tobacco Prevention Specialist since July 2008.  She also facilitates the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County, a coalition of community leaders that works together on tobacco issues that affect the residents of Gilchrist County, particularly its most vulnerable residents: youth and senior citizens.

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Statewide Survey Reveals Broad Support for New Rules to Reduce Youth Exposure to Secondhand Smoke and Youth Access to Tobacco
March 3, 2015

     QuitDoc Research and Education Foundation (QuitDoc) coordinated a statewide survey to study the attitudes of adult Floridians on tobacco issues that affect children. The survey was conducted because of a growing concern among parents that they are unable to completely protect their children from the risks of tobacco use.  The survey assessed public support for policies that would help to reduce those risks.
     The results of the February 2015 poll conducted by Republic Polling, a Delaware public opinion polling firm with offices in Florida, revealed strong support for new rules to protect children from secondhand smoke exposure in outdoor public places.  A remarkable 72% of the respondents felt that local governments should have the right to prohibit smoking in public places wherever children may be present, such as parks and playgrounds.  In addition, a substantial majority – 65% of respondents - believed that smoking should be prohibited in outdoor eating areas.
     “Tobacco prevention groups have clearly done a good job educating Floridians on the risks of secondhand smoke,” said Dr. Kirk Voelker, a Pulmonologist and Co-Founder of QuitDoc. “77% of those surveyed believe that secondhand smoke is very harmful to children. However, nearly 4 out of every 10 middle school students still reported exposure to secondhand smoke in the 2014 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, including 19.0% that reported exposure to secondhand smoke in a public place. This public smoking makes it very hard for parents to completely protect their children.”
     When asked about specific solutions to address this issue, an overwhelming 70% of those surveyed favored new rules to prohibit the use of tobacco products in state parks and beaches, with 54% strongly in favor of such a policy.  Similarly, 69% of respondents favored new rules restoring the rights of local governments to pass their own rules regarding outdoor smoking in municipal parks, playgrounds, and beaches, with 50% strongly in favor.

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Check Out Whoopi Goldberg's "Nobituary" Campaign!
The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation SmokeScreeners Announce The 2014 “Phlegmmy Awards” Identifying the Smokiest Films of the Year!
February 23, 2015

     In conjunction with the annual Academy Awards, The SmokeScreeners have issued their annual “Phlegmmy Awards”, the list of the ten films with most tobacco use as rated by students, parents, and educators.  X-Men: Days of Future Past tops this year’s list as the Worst Movie of 2014.
     “X-Men: Days of Future Past is a PG-13 rated installment in one of the most successful movie franchises of all time.  Unfortunately, the character Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, is once again shown smoking cigars,” said Dr. Barry Hummel, a Pediatrician and youth tobacco prevention advocate.  “Because the time-travel element takes us back to the 1970’s, there is even a scene of Wolverine smoking on an airplane… something children would no longer see in the real world. Because of its PG-13 rating, the film drew large numbers of teenagers to the theater.  Given all we know about the impact of scenes of movie smoking on the initiation of youth tobacco use, such scenes are unnecessary in a youth film.”
     Dr. Hummel also pointed out the importance of such tobacco use in movies.  “X-Men Days of Future Past has sold over $233 million in tickets in the United States alone.  If we assume the average ticket price is $8.00, then over 29 million Americans have seen the movie.  That means the two smoking incidents involving Wolverine have provided 58 million tobacco impressions… not bad marketing for an industry that has few remaining advertising options.”
Florida Youth Tobacco Survey Results Reveal Dramatic Increase in Electronic Cigarette Use in 2014
January 14, 2015

     Data released this January by the Florida Department of Health revealed a sharp rise in the use of electronic cigarettes by Florida middle and high school students, findings which are consistent with national data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September 2014.
     Among middle school students, the rate of current use of electronic cigarettes more than doubled, rising from 1.8% in 2013 to 4.0% in 2014.  Even more alarming is that rate of electronic cigarette use among Florida middle school youth now exceeds the rates of cigarette, cigar, smokeless tobacco, and hookah use, making it the preferred tobacco product in that age group.
     The rate of use also doubled among Florida high school students, rising from 5.4% in 2013 to 10.8% in 2014.  The use of electronic cigarettes among this age group now exceeds the rates of cigarette, cigar, and smokeless tobacco use.
     “For groups that have been tracking the youth marketing of electronic drug delivery devices such as e-cigarettes, this was completely predictable,” said Dr. Barry Hummel, a Pediatrician that works with the Tobacco Prevention Network of Florida.  “The Food and Drug Administration and the State of Florida have been slow to react to the early warning signs that youth would be a target market for this new, unregulated industry.”
 
American Red Cross Under Pressure to Stop Accepting Tobacco Money
January 12, 2015

     The
American Red Cross is under pressure from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and public health advocates to stop accepting donations from tobacco companies, Reuters reports.
     According to tax records, press releases, and annual reports, the American Red Cross and its U.S. affiliates — which, for more than a decade, have raised at least $1 billion annually — have received at least $12 million since 2001 from tobacco companies such as Altria Group, Reynolds American, and Philip Morris International. IFRC, whose disease prevention program includes a strong anti-tobacco component and which has refused donations from tobacco companies since 2008, as have all but half a dozen of its a hundred and eighty-nine national affiliates, is concerned that the American Red Cross's acceptance of tobacco money will tarnish the image of the global humanitarian network. IFRC under-secretary general Matthias Schmale told Reuters that IFRC officials have asked its U.S. affiliate to stop accepting tobacco funding and would continue "to put pressure" on the organization to change its policy. "We have been very clear about the potential reputational damage not just for them but for all of us," said Schmale. "So far we have not taken the route of public condemnation. We want to respect that they are an important supporter of ours."
 
USF Study Shows College Students Believe Hookah Smoking is Safer Than Cigarettes
Jodi Tillman
Tampa Bay Times
December 25, 2104


     TAMPA — He never drinks alcohol or smokes cigarettes, but Wathik Bouslimi makes an exception to his otherwise moderate lifestyle: hookah smoking.
     Bouslimi, a 32-year-old software engineering student at Strayer University, was smoking apple-flavored tobacco through a hookah — a traditional metal water pipe with a mouthpiece at the end of a flexible hose — as he studied at Kahwa Hookah Lounge near Busch Gardens one recent afternoon. He enjoys hookah smoking but has few illusions about its risks.
     "Oh, it's not healthy," he said with a chuckle.
     He's right. But not everyone knows it.
     A recent University of South Florida study found numerous misconceptions about the risks of hookah smoking. More than half of the nearly 500 undergraduate and graduate students surveyed said they believed it was less harmful than cigarette smoking. More than a quarter either thought hookah smoking was not harmful or didn't know for sure.

     The long-term health risks of hookah use are not clear. But existing research shows that hookahs deliver tar, nicotine and carbon monoxide in even higher doses than cigarettes.
     One session of hookah use exposes smokers to as much as six times the levels of carbon monoxide in a single cigarette, the USF study notes. A study last month found high levels of benzene — a chemical in crude oil and gasoline — are present in hookah smokers and nonsmokers after they attend social events where the water pipes are used, according to a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
FAA Warns U.S. Airlines About E-Cigarette Risk
Jeff Pegues
CBS News
January 23, 2015


     WASHINGTON -- The Federal Aviation Administration is warning U.S. carriers about the risk of fires caused by e-cigarettes.
     Earlier this month at Los Angeles International Airport, an overheated
e-cigarette sparked a fire in a piece of luggage in a baggage area. Four months prior to that at Boston's Logan Airport, an e-cigarette in a passenger's bag caught fire in the cargo hold of a plane -- forcing an evacuation.
     Those incidents and others have prompted the FAA to issue an official warning to U.S. carriers. The agency says the popular tobacco alternative "can pose a fire hazard in the cargo compartment of planes."
    
Fires can spread when lithium ion batteries ignite
. The FAA has already cracked down on those but e-cigarettes are powered by the same technology: Lithium cells.
     The concern is that e-cigarettes could inadvertently turn on in checked luggage, igniting a fire that could be catastrophic in mid-flight.
     The FAA is not banning e-cigs on planes outright. It just wants passengers to carry them onto the plane so that they can be monitored.

 
Delray Approves Limiting the Use of E-cigarettes to Outdoors
By
Sun Sentinel

     Smoke breaks of all kinds will have to be taken outdoors in
Delray Beach.
     Late Tuesday, commissioners gave final approval to a new rule that bans the use of e-cigarettes where smoking regular cigarettes is already prohibited.
     Those who violate the rule would be subject to a fine, arrest or both.
     Under the new rule, e-cigarettes are permitted in private residences, retail tobacco shops, designated smoking guest rooms and stand-alone bars of places where medical or scientific research takes place.
     Commissioner Adam Frankel suggested that the commission consider limiting the use of e-cigarettes after he said he noticed people using them more frequently in Delray bars, restaurants and shops.
     He said other patrons shouldn't have to breathe in the substances the devices emit.
     Resident Yvonne Odom agreed. She said she prefers to sit at restaurants with her granddaughter without potentially inhaling second-hand smoke. "People who smoke should understand they affect people around them," she said.
     E-cigarettes dispense nicotine through a vapor. Advocates say e-cigarettes can help people kick their smoking habit. But experts from the American Heart Association say they can potentially expose nonsmokers to the addictive substance.
     In Delray, the proposal extends the ban on tobacco smoking under the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act to electronic cigarettes. The ban states it also echoes the American Heart Association's new guidelines, which discourage the use of e-cigarettes in confined spaces.
UK Aims to Pass Law to Ban Branding on Cigarette Packs Before May
By Andrew Osborn, Reuters

     LONDON (Reuters) - The British government plans to introduce a law before May forcing tobacco firms to sell cigarettes in plain packets without branding in England, ending years of debate and lobbying.
     The move, aimed at improving public health and cutting the number of child smokers, is likely to crimp tobacco firms' profits and would emulate Australia, which two years ago enacted a groundbreaking law forcing cigarettes to be sold in plain olive green packaging with images showing the damaging effects of smoking.
     Cigarette sales have dropped in Australia since plain packaging was introduced on Dec. 1, 2012, prompting Britain to act before its national election in May even as Australia battles international legal challenges from other countries and manufacturers.
     Jane Ellison, a junior minister in Britain's health ministry, said introducing plain packaging was "a proportionate and justified response" because of the health risks associated with smoking.
     "In doing so we would be bringing the prospect of our first smoke-free generation one step closer," she said in a statement.
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