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

Highlands County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 3, Issue 3 / July - Sept, 2014
CVS Health Promotes Tobacco Cessation as the Pharmacy Chain Stops Selling Tobacco
September 3, 2014

     The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County is gearing up for their event at CVS to thank them for their recent choice to remove tobacco products from their shelves.
     The partnership had originally scheduled this event for October 1st, which was the original date CVS stated they would stop selling tobacco products. However, CVS pulled tobacco products a month early and as of September 3, 2014, no longer carries any type of tobacco product. The SWAT Students and Partnership members plan on taking thank you letters and signage to all local CVS stores in Highlands County.
     A representative of The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County contacted CVS in Sebring to make sure their tobacco products were already gone and to get an idea of their thoughts on this big step that CVS has taken.  She was met with excitement and received a confirmation that all local CVS no longer had any tobacco products.
     “We have gotten a lot of compliments and many people are so very happy about it,” said Debbie, CVS Store Associate. “We’ve been tobacco free since September 3rd.”  Debbie also admitted that there have been several people that had no idea CVS had made this choice and were upset, even though it has been all over the news for some time now.
Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) in
Highlands County are Back in Action at the Start of the 2014-2015 School Year

September 15, 2014

     The Highlands County SWAT Chapter has another busy year ahead! Between the celebration of smoke free holidays, community events and school wide events each club is sure to capture the attention of others and continue to spread the anti-tobacco message.
     At the conclusion of the last school year, the SWAT Chapter had about 70 members and 6 different clubs. There were several very successful recruitment activities and as a result, the clubs have had several new members join the pack this quarter already.
     The Lake Placid High School Club SWAT Club and the Sebring High School SWAT Club are seeking advisors this year and are actively on the hunt. The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County is also on the look-out for those who may be interested.
     Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Str8UP SWAT Club has been dissolved. However, there are plans in the making to partner up with the local drug prevention coalition, Drug Free Highlands, and create a dual club, similar to those in the middle schools for Str8UP. With other hands in the mix, a different schedule and a completely different format we are confident that this club can pick back up and become a strong voice for the anti-tobacco and anti-drug message.
Florida Bans Sale of E-cigarettes to Minors Starting July 1
By Susan Jacobson and Scott Travis, Sun-Sentinel

     There are so many tasty, sweet and fruity e-cigarette flavors at iVape Palm Beach, you might feel like a kid in a candy store.
     But the shop's policy is not to sell to anyone under 18, said Shang Le, owner of the Boynton Beach shop.
     On July 1, that practice became law in Florida. In June, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill making it illegal to sell e-cigarettes to minors and for minors to possess them. Florida joins states including Oklahoma, Kentucky, Connecticut and Delaware, whose governors recently signed similar laws.
     "Unfortunately, the FDA — the federal government — has not moved fast enough," said state Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, who sponsored the House bill after he saw a 12-year-old boy with an e-cigarette at a West Palm Beach water park. "There's no control whatsoever of the chemicals that are put in those e-cigarettes."
     E-cigarettes are battery-powered vaporizers that include a heating element and a tank filled with a "juice" mixture that contains nicotine and flavoring, such as bubblegum mint and chocolate. Many are shaped like regular cigarettes, but they also are manufactured to look like pipes, cigars and even hand grenades.
World Health Organization Urges Stronger Regulation of Electronic Cigarettes
By and
August 26, 2014

     PARIS — Governments should ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and outlaw tactics to lure young users, the World Health Organization said in a report released on Tuesday that calls for some of the toughest measures yet proposed for the increasingly popular devices.
     It also expressed “grave concern” about the growing role of the powerful tobacco industry in the e-cigarette market, warning that the financially powerful companies could come to dominate the new business and use the current tolerance of the new products as a gateway to ensnaring a new generation of smokers at a time when the public health authorities seem to be winning the battle against tobacco.
     The proposals by the organization, a United Nations agency, are only recommendations that might have little likelihood of being widely adopted. But health experts said they would serve as an important reference point for policy makers, both nationally and locally, as they try to navigate the complex balance of benefits and risks with very little science on which to base conclusions.
     And the report seems likely to spur further intense lobbying by the tobacco and e-cigarette industries against more regulation.
$24 Billion Tobacco Verdict: One Down, 5,130 to Go
By Gregory Wallace

     The $23.6 billion award to a former smoker's widow resolves just one of thousands of lawsuits against the country's No. 2 tobacco maker.
     R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. -- maker of the Camel, Kool and Pall Mall brands -- still has about 5,130 cases to fight. They're the remnants of a Florida class action lawsuit from the 1990s that was dismantled but allowed to move forward as individual cases.
     Plaintiff Cynthia Robinson argued that Reynolds failed to warn her husband, Michael Johnson, of the risks of smoking when he began at age 13. He died of lung cancer at age 36 in 1996.
     Nearly seventy such cases against the company have been tried, according to documents the company filed this spring with federal regulators. Reynolds has been ordered to pay victims $232 million, but most cases are tied up in appeal, so the company has only paid about $83 million so far.
     The $23.6 billion award due to Robinson consists entirely of punitive damages, which are designed to punish companies for gross misbehavior. The jury also awarded Robinson $16 million in standard damages, such as lost wages and healthcare costs.
     Reynolds has said it will appeal the multi-billion decision and believes it unconstitutional. At the very least, a judge could sharply reduce the dollar amount of the award.
New Jersey May Become the First State to Raise Smoking Age to 21
August 7, 2014

     New Jersey would become the first state to raise the smoking age to 21 if a bill already passed in the state Senate becomes law.
     Though the measure is stoking some controversy in the Garden State -- and it's unclear whether the bill has the support to advance -- it marks the latest legislative push by anti-smoking advocates.
     New York City raised the legal age for lighting up to 21 last fall, and some smaller towns, including Englewood, N.J., and municipalities in Hawaii and Massachusetts have done so. But the measure passed by New Jersey's upper chamber would make it the first state to put the requirement on the books. Similar measures in Utah and Colorado died earlier this year.
     "We're very hopeful this will pass," Karen Blumenfeld, executive director of New Jersey non-profit Global Advisors on Smokefree Policy (GASP), told "It's a chance for policymakers to take the initiative to ensure that young people don't take up smoking, which is the No. 1 preventable cause of disease and death."

     In 2006, the Garden State became the first to raise the age to 19, and lawmakers have already put a bill on Gov. Chris Christie's desk that would ban smoking in state parks and beaches.
Number of Young Non-Smokers Who Tried E-Cigs Tripled in 2 Years
August 25, 2014

     More than a quarter-million middle and high school students who were non-smokers say they used an electronic cigarette last year -- a threefold increase from 2011, a new U.S. study says.
     Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said those numbers jumped from 79,000 in 2011 to 263,000 in 2013.
     The CDC report also found that non-smoking children who used e-cigarettes were nearly twice as likely to say they plan to start smoking tobacco cigarettes compared to those who never used e-cigarettes -- about 44 percent versus 21.5 percent, respectively.
     "We are very concerned about nicotine use among our youth, regardless of whether it comes from conventional cigarettes, e-cigarettes or other tobacco products. Not only is nicotine highly addictive, it can harm adolescent brain development," Dr. Tim McAfee, director of CDC's Office on Smoking and Health, said in an agency news release.
     One other anti-smoking advocate agreed.
     "This study highlights the need for the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] to develop strong regulations regarding electronic cigarettes," said Patricia Folan, a nurse and director of the Center for Tobacco Control at North Shore-LIJ in Great Neck, N.Y.
Opinion: Raising All Federal Tobacco Taxes Can Stop Tax Avoidance
By The Washington Post Editorial Board
August 2, 2014

     Enact a law, and companies will find loopholes to exploit. That was the fear which drove lawmakers in 2009 to raise cigarette taxes together with taxes for roll-your-own tobacco and small cigars, both easy substitutes for cigarettes. To prevent manufacturers from shifting toward lesser-taxed alternatives, Congress equalized taxes between all three products — hiking the existing roll-your-own tobacco tax by over 24 times and small cigars by over 27 times.
     These products have plunged in sales since 2009. But tobacco manufacturers, unfazed in their quest to fatten their purses, found a new loophole. Unlike these three highly taxed tobacco products, post-2009 taxes on pipe tobacco and large cigars are relatively low. All it took to shift consumers to those products was relabeling roll-your-own tobacco as pipe tobacco, and slightly adding weight to qualify small cigars as large cigars. As evidence from a recent Senate finance committee hearing shows, the popularity of pipe tobacco and large cigars have exploded.
     That market shift has cost the federal government up to $3.7 billion in forgone revenue. Even worse, it’s hampered the effect of high tobacco prices on preventing teen smoking.
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