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

Highlands County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 1 / January - March, 2013

City of Avon Park Passes a Resolution Encouraging Retailers to Voluntarily Restrict the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products
February 25, 2013

     By a 3-1 vote, the Avon Park City Council passed a Resolution encouraging local retailers to restrict the sale of fruit and candy-flavored tobacco products not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Adminstration. The lone dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Garrett Anderson.
     The vote immediately followed a presentation by Dr. Barry Hummel, Co-Founder of the 
Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, the fiscal agent of The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County. Read More

Local Students Working Against Tobacco Clubs Educate Community About Flavored Tobacco at Highlands County Fair

by Tatiana Matos, Sebring High School SWAT President / March, 2013

     Winter Green, Twista Chill, Orange, Berry Berry. These names sound like some of your favorite sweet treats, right? Actually, they’re the names of some of the more popular candy flavored tobacco products, flavors that youth and young adults here in Highlands County are finding more and more attractive.
     This year Students Working Against Tobacco Clubs (SWAT) participated in the Highlands County Fair. “Our theme was Candy Flavored Tobacco because we wanted to educate the public, especially the youth and young adults, on the different forms of flavored tobacco products on the market,” said Tatiana Matos, President of the Sebring High School SWAT Club.”
Read More

How Big Tobacco Got its Way in The Florida Legislature
By Matt Dixon
     TALLAHASSEE - It was February 2009, and things were looking good for the tobacco industry.
     “There are an estimated 60 million adult consumers participating in the total tobacco space in the United States,” said Michael Szymanczyk, CEO and chairman of the Altria Group, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies. “These adult consumers spent an estimated $80 billion on tobacco products at retail in 2008, an amount that has been increasing over the past few years.”
     His message during a conference at the posh Boca Raton Club and Resort was in the industry’s public statements and filings with regulatory authorities. It’s not what was being told to Florida lawmakers... Read More



'Addictive' Cigarette Smoking Games On Smartphones Target Kids
by Michaeleen Doucleff
     You can do just about anything with your phone these days. Take an electrocardiogram. Confess your sins. Even smoke a cigarette
     Yup, you read that correctly. Android and Apple offer apps that let you light and smoke a virtual cigarette. You simply blow into the microphone, or onto the screen, and an image of a cigarette glows red and "burns."
     Some apps time how long it takes to puff the whole fag, while others have a virtual ashtray that pops up messages like, "Would be even better with a beer in your hand!"... Read More
Sarasota County Can't Ban Smoking, Says its Attorney
By Jeremy Wallace
     SARASOTA COUNTY - All those “No Smoking” signs at county beaches and parks are flat-out wrong, it turns out.
     Sarasota County discovered Tuesday that it is powerless to stop smoking at public beaches, parks, youth sports fields or even in front of public libraries despite years of passing laws to the contrary.
     County attorney Stephen E. DeMarsh told county commissioners that the nearly five-year-old law banning smoking on public beaches is likely unenforceable, as is the roughly $100 fine that can come with each violation. Dozens of other smoking bans passed by local governments around Florida also could be in jeopardy... Read More


Senate Democrats go after tobacco tax loophole to increase revenue
By Ramsey Cox
     A group of Democratic senators introduced a bill on January 31, 2013, that would close tax loopholes for tobacco companies, generating $3.6 billion in revenue over 10 years.
     Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (Ill.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) introduced the Tobacco Tax Equity Act, S. 194, which would close tax loopholes that allow tobacco companies to avoid the federal cigarette and roll-your-own tobacco tax, by making taxes on pipe tobacco equivalent to cigarette tobacco.
     “The current loopholes in the taxes on tobacco products encourage the use of products like pipe tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and 'nicotine candies' as a cheap source of tobacco, particularly among young people,” Durbin said... Read More

Graphic Cigarette Labels Can Influence Smokers Who Know Less About Health
By Join Together Staff
     Graphic cigarette warning labels that show the health consequences of smoking can influence a wide range of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups, a new study concludes.
     The study included more than 3,300 smokers, MedicalXpress reports. Researchers viewed graphic cigarette warnings or text-only warnings, and reported their reactions. The warning labels with pictures had a greater impact compared with the text-only warnings, the findings suggest. This was true regardless of participants’ race, ethnicity, education or income... Read More


Opinion:  E-Cigarette Makers Want to Have it Both Ways
By Stanton Glantz, Ph.D.
     Several of my colleagues and I submitted a public comment to the FDA docket regarding a “Report to Congress on Innovative Products and Treatments for Tobacco Dependence.” 
     We commented on the fact that at least two e-cigarette companies, Sottera, Inc., which promotes the e-cigarette brand NJOY, and VMR Products LLC, which promotes the e-cigarette brand V2Cigs, along with the e-cigarette industry’s trade association, Smokefree Alternatives Trade Association (SFATA), directed their consumers to provide public comment to this docket on “treatments for nicotine dependence” in direct e-mails to consumers and on their websites. The companies’ action was important because Sottera, Inc. had successfully sued the FDA to stop the agency from regulating e-cigarettes on the grounds that they were not therapeutic drugs and/or devices... Read More
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