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

Gilchrist County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 10, Issue 3 / July - Sept, 2016
Tobacco Impacts on our Local Environment
By Tracy DeCubellis
September 19, 2016

     Around the United States, many recreation areas such as beaches, parks, and other nature and recreational areas have attempted to stem the tide of environmental damage caused by tobacco waste by creating tobacco free areas.  Many people tend to think of tobacco in terms of secondhand smoke, which is important to be sure, but it is not often that the impact of those cigarette butts, e-cigarette waste, snuff and snus pouches, and other tobacco residue is actually having on natural areas and wildlife when people use them in natural settings.
     It is a well-known fact that tobacco products contain a variety of toxins like nicotine, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, arsenic, and a variety of other chemicals. They do not disappear when someone is finished using a tobacco product and they throw it on the ground. Instead, the toxins that remain in the product are deposited on the ground.  Did you know that cigarette butts are not biodegradable? All of those cigarette butts that are thrown on the ground stay there, polluting the environment. The sad fact is that cigarette butts are the number one source of beach pollution around the world. In fact, only about 10% of all cigarette butts are actually thrown away or put into ashtrays.
     This is an issue that should be seriously considered, especially areas that have rivers, springs, beaches and wildlife or natural areas used by the public. These areas can be a tremendous resource for the community and the state, but what happens if tobacco trash is littered in those areas? Animals such as birds and fish have been shown to eat tobacco trash, like cigarette butts, and they have been discovered in the stomachs of animals. Additionally, a study was done to find out the impact of a few cigarette butts on surrounding marine environments. It was discovered that putting just one cigarette butt into a liter of water had the effect of killing half of the fish that were exposed to it.

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County Elects New Advisory Council
September 7, 2016

     The Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County recently held a meeting where a new Advisory Council was elected which includes two adult members, a young adult college student, and a member of Students Working Against Tobacco.
     The youth members are both returning Advisory Council members, Joshua Akin who is a Santa Fe College student, and Kalin Siegel who is a member of SWAT and a high school student. Other members include a returning member, Jamie Hinote, who is the Outreach and Eligibility Specialist for Palms Medical Group.  She also leads the local tobacco cessation groups in association with Suwannee River AHEC which are held at Palms Medical’s Trenton Office.
     A new Advisory Council member is Debbie Destin who is very active in the community. Ms. Destin owns Destin’s Dance and Fitness Academy in Bell, Florida. She is also the Events and Activities Director for ForVets which is a Veterans organization that operates Otter Springs in Gilchrist County.
     Each member of the Tobacco Free Partnership Advisory Council brings unique talents and abilities to the group, as well as a passion for making Gilchrist County a healthier place by reducing the impact of tobacco use on youth and adults in the community. Two of our SWAT club alumni are also returning members of the Tobacco Free Partnership: Joshua Akin and Cheyenne Siegel. They bring years of experience in public speaking, leadership activities, and an understanding of how tobacco exposure and advertising impacts young people in Gilchrist County.

Kathy Castor files Bill to Restore Charitable Contributions of Premium Cigars to U.S. Troops
by Mitch Perry
SaintPetersBlog.com


     Hillsborough County Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor has filed legislation to reinstate the tradition of donating cigars to U.S. military members who are deployed overseas.
     The bill, titled “Restore Charitable Contributions of Premium Cigars to the Troops Act,” is a response to regulations on cigars, e-cigarettes and other products that took effect Aug. 8. Those regulations also include what has been understood to be a ban on the charitable donation of tobacco products.
     Two weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Times reported the new regulations had prompted Tampa cigar retailers like J.C. Newman and Thompson Cigar to stop donating their products to U.S. troops based overseas, which led Castor to promise to take action when she returned to Washington after the congressional summer break.
     “Charitable contributions of traditional, premium cigars to members of the U.S. Armed Forces — a time-honored tradition that dates back to World War I — were recently swept up and disallowed in the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of a broad range of tobacco products that took effect Aug. 8,” Castor said in a statement Thursday.
     “I strongly disagree with the FDA’s ban on premium cigars as charitable gifts to our troops and as donations to nonprofit organizations that in turn use these donations to support our troops.”
     Castor also says she supports the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, which would exempt individually rolled, premium cigars from regulation by FDA because, unlike other tobacco products brought under the jurisdiction of FDA by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, premium cigars are not marketed to children.
     One of those affected by the new regulations was Mark Van Trees of Support the Troops, a Wesley Chapel-based organization that sends items like toiletries and snacks to troops overseas.
Dallas Council Will Vote on No-Exceptions Smoking Ban for Parks
By Robert Wilonsky
The Dallas Morning Star
August 22, 2016


     "I'm speechless," said Jesse Moreno, vice president of Dallas' Park and Recreation Board. "I've never smiled so much at City Hall."
     Moreno had just come out of the City Council's briefing chambers, where, on Monday morning, Dallas' Quality of Life and Environment Committee voted to send the full council a proposed ordinance banning smoking in all public parks — without exceptions.
     The park board's proposal, which passed in early June after many months of delays and debates, allowed several carve-outs, including puffing on municipal golf courses and at Elm Fork Shooting Range.
     But council member Philip Kingston said the smoking ban should apply to everyone everywhere. Period.
     And a majority of his fellow committee members agreed.
     "I didn't expect that," Moreno said after the committee meeting. He was loudest among the park board members pushing for a full ban during a lengthy, often contentious debate earlier this year. "I thought it would get watered down even more."
     Kingston said an outright ban is good for the public health — and good for business, pointing out that restaurant and bar owners' "doomsday predictions" never came to pass when the city approved two waves of smoking bans in 2003 and 2008. And, the East Dallas council member said, if Houston can do a full-on ban, so can Dallas.
    
He pointed to Dallas' neighbor to the south and said the city needs to follow Houston's lead in growing and greening its parks system. One way to do that is to force a full-on smoke-out.
     Houston used to be a "concrete hellscape," he said. But now it has "become known for its parks, and we need to meet the highest standards of peer cities to compete with them."
Point of View:
It is time for 21

by John Michael Pierobon
Palm Beach Post
August 17, 2016

     It is time to raise the legal age for tobacco products from 18 to 21. Increasing the access age for all nicotine and tobacco products is the most promising strategy to prevent lifelong addiction among our youth. Numerous studies have shown that high school use of tobacco is cut in half where the legal age has been raised to 21.
     According to an exhaustive study by the Institute of Medicine, increasing the tobacco access age to 21 would result in 249,000 fewer premature deaths related to cigarette smoking. It also would result in 286,000 fewer pre-term births and 438,000 fewer babies born with low weights.
     Those who oppose this policy argue that if a person is old enough to fight for their country, they should be allowed to smoke. Admirals and generals disagree. Rear Adm. John Fuller wrote, “If someone is young enough to fight for their country, they should be free from addiction to a deadly drug.”
     It is time to raise the legal age for tobacco products from 18 to 21. Increasing the access age for all nicotine and tobacco products is the most promising strategy to prevent lifelong addiction among our youth. Numerous studies have shown that high school use of tobacco is cut in half where the legal age has been raised to 21.
     According to an exhaustive study by the Institute of Medicine, increasing the tobacco access age to 21 would result in 249,000 fewer premature deaths related to cigarette smoking. It also would result in 286,000 fewer pre-term births and 438,000 fewer babies born with low weights.
     Those who oppose this policy argue that if a person is old enough to fight for their country, they should be allowed to smoke. Admirals and generals disagree. Rear Adm. John Fuller wrote, “If someone is young enough to fight for their country, they should be free from addiction to a deadly drug.”
     The military recognizes that smoking seriously impairs combat readiness, and the high cost associated with caring for addicted smokers detracts from our national defense...
Pro-Tobacco Tax Ad Mostly Rings True
By Taryn Luna
Sacramento Bee


     Proponents of a ballot measure to increase tobacco taxes by $2 are airing a TV ad explaining why the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association and American Academy of Pediatrics support Proposition 56.
     The 30-second ad, “Yes on 56 – Why Yes?,” makes a series of claims about tobacco’s toll on society and the benefits of raising taxes. Here’s a description of the ad and an analysis of the pro-tax coalition’s claims.

Narration:
     It’s out there targeting our kids, hooking more each year. Smoking is still killing Californians and costing taxpayers billions. That’s why the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and pediatricians say Yes on Prop 56. It’s a proven way to prevent kids from starting to smoke and it works like a user fee so smokers pay their fair share of health costs. Tobacco still targets kids. It’s our job to protect them. Vote Yes on 56.
     The ad also says tobacco kills 40,000 Californians and costs taxpayers $3.5 billion every year.

Analysis:
     The pro-tax coalition was mostly careful to stick to the facts. The group borrowed data and evidence cited by the U.S. surgeon general and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support the annual death rate for smoking-related illnesses in California and the statement that raising taxes prevents kids from getting hooked on tobacco in the first place. The estimate that tobacco costs California taxpayers $3.5 billion is slightly low. The campaign based its number on a CDC estimate of direct Medi-Cal costs related to tobacco use in 2004 and then adjusted it based on inflation rates in 2009. Using the same calculator, the estimated cost in 2015 was over $4 billion.
A Lobbyist Wrote the Bill. Will the Tobacco Industry Win Its E-Cigarette Fight?
by Eric Lipton
New York Times
September 2, 2016
 
     WASHINGTON — The e-cigarette and cigar industries have enlisted high-profile lobbyists and influential congressional allies in an attempt to stop the Food and Drug Administration from retroactively examining their products for public health risks or banning them from the market.
     The campaign targets a broad new rule that extends F.D.A. jurisdiction to include cigars, e-cigarettes and pipe and hookah tobacco.
     The bipartisan effort has featured a former senator who did not register as a lobbyist before going to work for the cigar companies and a former Obama administration official, now a private consultant, who is trying to undo his earlier work reviewing the rule. In addition, one member of Congress introduced industry-written legislation without changing a word of it.
     The battle shows how, nearly two decades after the $200 billion settlement between tobacco companies and state attorneys general to compensate the public for health consequences of smoking, the industry still wields extraordinary clout in Washington.
     With its army of more than 75 lobbyists, tobacco-aligned companies have argued that the F.D.A.’s so-called Deeming Rule could hurt public health by forcing a large share of e-cigarette companies out of business.
     “The F.D.A. has blatantly ignored evidence that our products improve people’s lives,” said Christian Berkey, chief executive of Johnson Creek Enterprises, one of the first companies to sell the e-liquid ingredient used in e-cigarettes and vaping products.
     F.D.A. officials acknowledge that e-cigarettes, made out of tobacco-derived nicotine, are potentially less harmful than cigarettes. But they insist they must examine whether the electronic cigarettes or the liquid nicotine juices might contain toxic chemicals
like diethylene glycol, an ingredient also used in antifreeze, or candy-like flavors contributing to the surge in the numbers of teenagers using e-cigarettes. They also want to examine the safety of the e-cig devices themselves after reports of battery-related burns.

     “In the absence of science-based regulation of all tobacco products, the marketplace has been the wild, wild West,” said Mitch Zeller, the director of the F.D.A.’s Center for Tobacco Products, which is in charge of enforcing the new rule.
FBI Looking for Foul Play in Creation of Indiana Vaping Law
Tony Cook, IndyStar
August 23, 2016

     The FBI is looking into whether any foul play was involved in the creation of the state's controversial vaping law.
     Agents have interviewed at least two lawmakers and a manufacturer of liquids used in electronic smoking devices.
     “They asked me if I knew of anything anyone might have gotten out of this legislation,” said state Sen. Phil Boots, who said he talked to an agent last month. “I think that’s what they’re looking at — Did someone in the legislature gain from the legislation?”
     Boots, a Crawfordsville Republican who has expressed concerns about the legislation, said he wasn't aware of any lawmakers who benefited financially from the legislation, but could understand why the FBI is asking questions.
     The law gave only a handful of e-liquid producers control of the Indiana market, shutting out dozens of other manufacturers that had operated in the state. Lawmakers passed the measure in 2015 and amended it this year.
     The FBI also has interviewed Evan McMahon, an e-liquid producer and leader of Hoosier Vapers, a consumer and industry organization that opposes the law.
     “They didn’t say who they were investigating, but they said they were looking at antitrust and corruption,” McMahon said.
     Agents wanted to know which legislators and lobbyists were “cheerleaders” of the legislation, he said.
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