Latest Blog Entries

Does Baseball Promote the Use of Smokeless Tobacco?

I grew up going to baseball games, specifically Dodger games, but this blog post is not about which baseball team is the best. (Go Dodgers!) Many of my friends growing up, including my little brother, played baseball.  I spent countless evenings at the little league field and at my high school baseball field watching my friends play. Our high school team even made it all the way to the championship my senior year and I watched them play at Angel’s Stadium.

Unfortunately, many of my friends who played baseball in high school picked up a horrible habit before turning 18.  They developed an addiction to smokeless or chewing tobacco.  They would use smokeless tobacco while playing baseball and eventually on a more regular basis. Most of them started smoking cigarettes as well. I can only speculate as to why they took up this horrible habit; they saw their favorite major league players using chewing tobacco.  Read More »

Supporting Our Partners

On an early Sunday morning, a few weeks ago as I was going around and around a dark high school track. I had some time to reflect. I was participating, along with the rest of Team Smoke Enders, in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, in the city of Campbell. If you’ve never participated in a Relay, it is truly an amazing event, bringing together survivors, caregivers and others who want to end cancer.

And that is a mission all of us in tobacco control can get behind. In fact, Team Smoke Enders, led by Bob Lorilla with the Santa Clara Public Health Department, is a team comprised of public health staff and tobacco control coalition members. While walking around the track I was thinking about how great an opportunity this was for tobacco control coalition to support an important member of our coalition – the American Cancer Society. And the same goes for the American Lung Association (which hosts Lung Force events around the state) and the American Heart Association (which has a Heart Walk). Read More »

State of Tobacco Control 2015

Hello world! A brand new and improved State of Tobacco Control – California Local Grades report is 6 months away from showing off its new changes! This is my third year working on this report and I believe this new grading methodology will highlight cities with the best tobacco control policies while pushing other jurisdictions to adopt stronger policies to protect the health of their community. Staff from all over the state were involved in these conversations and none of these changes in the report’s methodology were made lightly.

A major change occurring in this new methodology is in the Smokefree Housing Section. When the methodology for this report was first developed six years ago, there were very few smokefree housing policies passing and we were not sure what they would look like in the future. Since then, the bar has been raised by cities and counties across the state passing strong policies in all areas. Now that we know what these strong policies in housing look like, we are able to create a stronger grading methodology that will reflect these strong policies that we know will improve the health of California residents.

Another big change is the inclusion of a new section called Emerging Issues Bonus Points. This section lists Read More »

The American Lung Association Releases its 6th “Helping Smokers Quit: Tobacco Cessation Coverage 2014 Report!”

To encourage and inform the public about tobacco cessation coverage, the American Lung Association released this new report which provides an overview of tobacco cessation coverage in Medicaid, state employee health insurance and other insurance.

By now, most people generally know that tobacco is harmful. However, there are many specific risks that most are uninformed about. Quitting smoking will immediately improve a smoker’s health and lower their risk for deadly diseases like heart disease and lung cancer. Not only does quitting smoking save lives, but it also saves money “from lower healthcare costs, increased workplace productivity and averted premature deaths.” With benefits like these, the American Lung Association stresses the need for policymakers, insurance plans and employers to help smokers quit. Included in this report is a plan of action for policymakers at both the state and federal level. Read More »

Everyday Can Be Independence Day For Our Military

Guest Blogger – Colleen Haydon, Program Manager, Project UNIFORM (Undoing Nicotine Influence From Our Respected Military)/CYAN

As we all recover from our 4th of July holiday, it’s a good time to reflect upon just what independence means. In my world in military tobacco control, independence means many things and that includes a life free of tobacco. There’s been a lot of talk lately about the role of tobacco in the military. Recently, the Secretary of the Navy (SecNav) announced his intent to prohibit the sale of tobacco on Navy and Marine Corps installations and ships. While the SecNav is taking steps to reduce tobacco use in the military, others are strongly opposing stronger tobacco restrictions.

I have dedicated the last eight years of my professional life to this topic and the connection to independence is clear to me. Tobacco makes one dependent. Tobacco controls lives. Tobacco, when used as directed, can kill you. There is nothing about tobacco that deserves the attention of our nation’s bravest and most valuable members. It has been suggested that military service men and women already put their lives at risk every day as a part of their duties so denying them tobacco is a waste of time.

With all due respect to those who have made these misguided claims, I emphatically disagree and reject your premise.

  • First, it is because our nation’s military service men and women are put in harms way on a daily basis that tobacco has no place in that reality. From updated equipment to appropriate training, we do all we can to protect our Service Members from harm to ensure that they survive whatever horrible situation they are put into. Read More »