Tobacco Free Partnership of Okeechobee County
PO Box 1595, Okeechobee, FL 34973

Okeechobee County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 4, Issue 4 / Oct - Dec, 2015
QuitDoc Foundation Community Health Advocate Addresses Rotary Club of Okeechobee County
October 13, 2015

On October 13th 2015, Courtney Moyett, Community Health Advocate for the Tobacco Free Partnership of Okeechobee County and QuitDoc Foundation was the honored guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Okeechobee’s weekly meeting.  Courtney educated the club on the new goal areas for the tobacco prevention program in Okeechobee County.
QuitDoc Foundation was awarded a grant in 2012 by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida to provide tobacco prevention programs in Okeechobee County.  For the past 3 years, these programs have included youth prevention, such as the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs at each middle school, high school, tobacco free workplaces, smoke-free multi-unit housing, and measures to counteract marketing of candy flavored tobacco products and retail advertising.  QuitDoc Foundation also facilitates the Tobacco Free Partnership of Okeechobee County, which includes partners and stakeholders in the community.

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Okeechobee Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Youth Compete in Local Regatta
October 3, 2015

On October 3rd 2015, Yearling Middle School SWAT Club participated in the 5th Annual Adam Bryant Minimal Regatta. 

The regatta is a homemade boat race where all the boats are constructed of the same minimal supplies and then compete in the water.

The Yearling Middle School SWAT club spent several weekends building their boat and painted anti-tobacco messages on the side of the boat. 

The captain of the boat was Dustin Lowe and he navigated his way to a third place victory in the “first mate” race class.

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Protecting Kids from Secondhand Smoke
Tracy DeCubellis, MS / November 6, 2015

     People want a clean environment including clean air, water, and safe food to eat.  This is especially important for children as they are growing.  We know that secondhand smoke is unhealthy, but do we really think about what it might be doing to kids who are around it?
     Did you know that babies who are around cigarette smoke have a higher chance of dying of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)?  The CDC reports that 400 babies die as a result of SIDS connected to secondhand smoke every year (CDC, 2015). This is a tragedy that may be avoided by encouraging new parents not to smoke around kids.
     Secondhand smoke can create other problems for kids. Some effects of secondhand smoke around children include:

  • Increased risk of bronchitis and pneumonia
  • Increased risk of asthma and allergies
  • More ear infections
  • Increased risk of cavities
  • Attention and behavior problems (First 5 California, 2015)

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QuitDoc Foundation to Study Youth Tobacco Intervention Program in Bradford County
CVS Health Lends its Support to the Project to Help Reduce Youth Tobacco Use in Florida

November 10, 2015

     STARKE, FL, November 10, 2015: The QuitDoc Foundation is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office. As part of a commitment to help people lead tobacco free lives, CVS Health has generously awarded the QuitDoc Foundation a one-year Community Grant to implement and evaluate a pilot youth tobacco intervention program. The program is intended to serve youth who have received citations by law enforcement in Bradford County for tobacco use or possession.
     “I’m excited about the opportunity to collaborate with the QuitDoc Foundation and CVS Health to bring this innovative program to Bradford County,” said Sheriff Gordon Smith. “Our goal is to help reduce tobacco use among minors, utilizing this educational intervention program.”
     The program is called the Tobacco Intervention Program for Students, or TIPS. The TIPS modules are unique in that they use a combined education and intervention approach to reach youth participants. The QuitDoc Foundation is excited to pilot this program in Bradford County, with the hope that this project can serve as a model for the state of Florida to implement in the future.

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Top Professionals Across Florida Announced as James Madison Institute Leaders Fellowship Class 2
QuitDoc Foundation's Director of Development, Brian Graham, Will Represent the Jacksonville Region

November 16, 2015

TALLAHASSEE – The second class of The James Madison Institute (JMI) Leaders Fellowship was announced today featuring more than 100 accomplished young leaders from across Florida who represent a diverse group of interests and professions. The JMI Leaders Fellowship is a yearlong endeavor designed to encourage and promote the growth, development, knowledge and networks of under-40 professionals in the Sunshine State. Currently, the program has representation in six regions of the state including Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Tampa, Orlando, Palm Beach and Miami.
      “When we launched the JMI Leaders Fellowship program in 2014, we were fortunate to receive interest from some of Florida’s best and brightest young leaders,” said Dr. Bob McClure, JMI president and CEO. “It was exciting when we opened up the process for the second year and applications flooded in. Our fellows meet monthly at fun and informative gatherings where they learn about key public policy issues that have an impact on their lives, along with the roles that culture and civic engagement play in economic development in Florida. Our hope is that the program expands each year to reach new regions and exceptional leaders looking to make a difference in their communities.”
     The JMI Leaders Fellowship was created in partnership with several accomplished young professionals who recognized a need for such a program for Floridians in this age group. 
Campus-Wide Smoking Ban to Start at USF Tampa in Spring
By Miki Shine
The Oracle
On November 19, 2015

Starting in January, USF Tampa will be joining the ranks of universities across the nation that have banned the use of tobacco products and smoking. As of October, 1,620 colleges and universities are smoke free — 769 ban e-cigarettes — with 23 of those in Florida, according to the Tampa Tribune.
     As part of the campus-wide campaign, no e-cigarettes, hookahs, chewing tobacco or other tobacco products will be permitted anywhere on campus or at school-sponsored events like sports games and graduations.

     “Much like e-cigarettes, hookahs would fall under the line of smoking,” Beverly Daly, director of Environmental Health & Safety at USF, said. “Smoking, whether tobacco based or not, will be prohibited.”
     The system-wide change started in 2009 when USF Health and the Moffitt Cancer Center implemented smoking bans. Currently, USF’s St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee campuses are already smoke- and tobacco-free.
     In 2011, USF President Judy Genshaft created a Tobacco Use Task Force to explore the possibility of the campus going tobacco- and smoke-free. While the task force decided the campus population wasn’t ready, it created restricted use with 24 designated smoking areas around campus and programs through Student Health Services and Student Affairs to aid in prevention.

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HUD Proposes Smoking Ban in Public Housing, Citing Dangers of Secondhand Smoke
By Jerry Markon and Lisa Rein
/ Washington Post
November 12, 2015

The government is seeking to ban smoking in all of the nation’s 1.2 million public housing units, the latest step in a decades-long crackdown on tobacco products that help kill hundreds of thousands of Americans each year.
     In its proposed rule, announced Thursday, the Department of Housing and Urban Development would require more than 3,100 public housing agencies to go smoke-free within several years. The agencies must design policies prohibiting lit tobacco products in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and in all outdoor areas near housing and administrative office buildings, HUD officials said.
     “We have a responsibility to protect public housing residents from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke, especially the elderly and children who suffer from asthma and other respiratory diseases,” HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement announcing the measure. “This proposed rule will help improve the health of more than 760,000 children and help public housing agencies save $153 million every year in healthcare, repairs and preventable fires.”
     Though HUD will not design a final rule until after it hears public comments over the next two months, there seems little doubt that the government is headed toward the smoking ban, since the Obama administration is already moving in that direction. Since HUD strongly encouraged public housing agencies to design anti-smoking policies in 2009, more than 600 have done so. That means that more than 228,000 of the nation’s public housing units are already smoke-free.
Powerful Health Groups Renew Push to Raise Florida's Cigarette Tax
Kathleen McGrory
Tampa Bay Times
November 19, 2015

Four powerful health organizations are putting their collective muscle behind an effort to increase the state’s cigarette tax for the first time in seven years.
     The coalition, which includes the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association in Florida and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, wants to see the tax increased by $1 per pack in 2016, its leaders announced Thursday.
     “Increases in tobacco excise taxes have proven highly effective in reducing tobacco use, especially among our youth,” said Heather Youmans, who oversees lobbying efforts for the Cancer Action Network in Florida. “Florida has seen its smoking rate drop from 14.5 percent in 2008 to 6.9 percent in 2015, thanks in part to our last tobacco tax increase.”
     The groups are rallying behind bills (SB 758/ HB 335) filed by Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, and Rep. Richard Stark, D-Weston that would raise the surcharge on a standard pack of cigarettes from $1 to $2. As under the existing law, the revenue would be deposited into the Health Care Trust Fund to help pay for research on tobacco-related and cancer-related illnesses.
     Stark said the tax hike would generate more than $400 million in revenue.
     “A higher tobacco tax also will save Florida money by reducing tobacco-related health-care costs,” he added.
Adolescent E-Cigarette Use Tied to Breathing Problems
By Andrew M. Seaman / Rueters
November 9, 2015

Adolescents who reported using e-cigarettes were about 30 percent more likely to report respiratory symptoms than those who never used e-cigarettes, in a study from China.
     The increased risk of breathing problems - like a cough or phlegm - varied depending on whether or not the adolescents also smoked traditional cigarettes.
     "Among never smoking adolescents, e-cigarette users are twice as likely to report respiratory symptoms than non-users," study author Dr. Daniel Ho, of the University of Hong Kong School of Public Health.
     "E-cigarettes are certainly not harmless and serious health problems of long-term use will probably emerge with time," Ho added in an email to Reuters Health.
     E-cigarettes deliver nicotine through a vapor, which contains propylene glycol and flavoring chemicals known to be bothersome to the respiratory system, the researchers write in JAMA Pediatrics.
     While past research found some short-term respiratory effects in adults after e-cigarette use, the researchers say no study had looked for these effects in adolescents.
     The new findings are drawn from data collected between 2012 and 2013 from over 45,000 schoolchildren in Hong Kong with an average age of about 15.

     Overall, 1.1 percent of students reported smoking e-cigarettes within the past 30 days, and about 19 percent of all students reported respiratory symptoms.
     Students who smoked e-cigarettes were 30 percent more likely to report breathing problems, compared to those who didn't use the devices.
     The difference in breathing problems was most pronounced among students who said they never smoked traditional cigarettes.
US Department of Transportation Issues New Flight Safety Rule for E-Cigarettes
October 26, 2015

WASHINGTON – In its continuing effort to improve transportation safety, the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration today issued an interim final rule (IFR) to prohibit passengers and crewmembers from carrying battery-powered portable electronic smoking devices (e.g. e-cigarettes, e-cigs, e-cigars, e-pipes, personal vaporizers, electronic nicotine delivery systems) in checked baggage and prohibit passengers and crewmembers from charging the devices and/or batteries on board the aircraft.
     “We know from recent incidents that e-cigarettes in checked bags can catch fire during transport,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Fire hazards in flight are particularly dangerous.  Banning e-cigarettes from checked bags is a prudent safety measure.”
     On January 22, 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a Safety Alert for Operators recommending that air carriers require their passengers to carry e-cigarettes and related devices exclusively in the cabin of the aircraft.  Also, on June 9, 2015, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) published an addendum to the 2015-2016 ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods by Air prohibiting the carriage of e-cigarettes in checked baggage and restricting the charging of these devices while on board the aircraft.
     “The importance of the safety of the flying public provides good cause for our issuing an IFR,” said PHMSA Administrator Marie Therese Dominguez.
Senators Schatz, Durbin, Brown, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Raise Smoking Age to 21
September 30, 2015

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), joined by seven other Senators, introduced the Tobacco to 21 Act (S.2100), legislation that would prohibit the sale of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21.
     “We know that the earlier smokers begin their unhealthy addiction to nicotine, the more likely they are to suffer from tobacco-related diseases or die,” said Senator Schatz.  “This year, Hawai‘i became the first state in the nation to raise the minimum smoking age to 21.  It was an historic public health achievement that we should adopt nationwide. By raising the minimum tobacco age of sale to 21 across the country, we can cut the number of new smokers each year; build a healthier, tobacco free America; and save lives.”
     “Thanks to tobacco control measures like banning smoking in public places and placing warning labels on cigarette cartons, far fewer people smoke now than did fifty years ago,” said Senator Durbin.  “As a result, far fewer families have lost loved ones to tobacco-related disease and death. But we still have a long way to go. We can help prevent a new generation from falling prey to this deadly epidemic by passing another commonsense measure to reduce youth tobacco use: raising the minimum tobacco age of sale to 21.”
     “The harder it is for children and teenagers to get their hands on tobacco products, the easier it will be to keep our next generation from becoming hooked on nicotine,” said Senator Brown. “Our country has come a long way on tobacco products... but we need to do more to keep people from becoming addicted in the first place”
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