Who We Are...members of the Smoke-Free Marin Coalition members include representatives from the following organizations:
Marin County Tobacco Related Disease Control Program
American Cancer Society
Bay Area Community Resources
Marin Pharmacists Association
Touro University Pharmacy and Nursing Students
Marin County Office of Education
Public Health Institute
Public Health Policy Services
Asian Advocacy Project
and.......local residents with an interest in public health, smoke-free environments and addiction free youth and adults.
We welcome participation by those who have an interest in community public health. The Smoke-Free Marin Coalition has been a resource for local city councils and the County Board of Supervisors for nearly 28 years. During that time we have learned many valuable lessons in public health prevention and policy enactment, implementation and enforcement. We have responded to invitations for presentations from California counties, numerous states in the U.S. and from countries in 5 continents to share our lessons about how to make public health policy work at the local level. We exported our successful models to the Middle East, Australia, India, China, Greece, South America, Mexico and Canada, who benefitted from both our mistakes and our success stories with social norm changes around health issues. Now we offer the same expertise to our community partners in Marin County as we explore collaboration possibilities and join forces to address social determinates of health and policy options.
Is Tobacco Use Still a Problem? While we’ve made significant progress, tobacco use continues to take a terrible toll — physically, emotionally and financially on families throughout California and in Marin, where Oncologists and Cardiologists continue to treat tobacco related diseases.
• Tobacco remains the number one cause of preventable death, disease and disability in Marin, California and the country. Every year, more than 35,000 people in California die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.
• More than 3.6 million Californians still smoke – more people than the total populations of 23 states and the District of Columbia.
• The cost of smoking in California is $18.1 billion, or $3,400 per smoker. All California residents are paying these costs, not just smokers.
Each Marin resident, including nonsmokers, pays $551 for the cost of smoking, according to a county–by county report of the costs of smoking in California, recently completed by University of California San Francisco (UCSF) researchers, Drs. Wendy Max and Hai-Yen Sung.
Meanwhile, the tobacco industry’s marketing efforts continue to outspend the state’s Tobacco Control Program 8 to 1, year after year.
History of the California Tobacco Control Program
On November 8, 1988, Californians approved a 25-cent tax on cigarettes, which led to one of the world’s most successful public health efforts. The Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act (Proposition 99) dedicated 5 cents of the 25-cent tax to fund California’s tobacco control efforts, including funding for local health departments and community organizations, a groundbreaking media campaign, and tobacco-related evaluation and surveillance. This comprehensive approach has changed public attitudes toward tobacco use, creating an environment where tobacco is less desirable, less acceptable, and less accessible. When the statewide program started in 1988, more than 1 in 5 adults in California smoked cigarettes; today, that number is less than 1 in 8. Similarly, the number of cigarettes smoked by Californians has fallen by more than 62 percent. California’s tobacco control program is credited with saving more than one million lives and over $86 billion in health care costs. And, as the world’s first and longest-running comprehensive tobacco control program, California has defined best practices for comprehensive tobacco control efforts that have been modeled throughout the nation and the world. Today, CTCP continues to change social norms about tobacco use and decrease tobacco-related death, disease, and disability in California. Emerging priorities include decreasing marketing where tobacco is sold and addressing the environmental impact of tobacco waste (i.e. cigarette butts).
However, there is much work still remains to be done. The tobacco and the new aerosolized electronic flavored liquid nicotine delivery companies have increased nicotine addiction through e-cigarettes, hookah pens and other youth appeal- tech products. Many of these companies have been purchased by tobacco companies who saw the opportunities to replace lost customers. While these products are promoted as a way to help smokers quit, studies have shown that most smokers tend to continue to smoke while using these products, only increasing their addiction to nicotine. Even worse, the electronic nicotine delivery devices have also led youth to smoke, undermining much of the progress we have made.
Marin Priorities: The county’s Tobacco Related Disease Control Program and the Smoke-Free Marin Coalition are currently working with all local jurisdictions to: update their Smoke-Free Ordinances to include
(1) multi-unit housing smoking restrictions to reduce exposure to drifting smoke and fires caused by smoking and use of electronic nicotine delivery devices,
(2) e-cigarette restrictions and....
(3) restricting the sale of tobacco in pharmacies. The county also provides cessation services to residents who wish to stop smoking and is actively working with behavioral health providers in an attempt to reach the population of residents with the highest smoking rates.
The work that is still ahead of us: While Marin has continued to lead the way with secondhand smoke polices. most of our local jurisdications lag behind in enacting Tobacco Retailer Licensing (TRL) ordinances that would cause store owners to lose their licenses for selling tobacco to youth and thereby preventing youth addiction to nicotine in tobacco or e-cigarettes. This would include a Tobacco-Free Pharmacy component. We also need to minimize the impact of tobacco on the environment.
The Smoke-Free Marin Coalition has just launched a 10-year campaign to improve the health of Marin residents by educating consumers and retailers how marketing practices influence consumption of unhealthy products, and assist in making the retail environment a healthier place for Marin residents. The Coalition is part of the new Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community campaign- a statewide and local collaboration between tobacco use prevention, nutrition and alcohol prevention partners. This ten year campaign started with a survey of how tobacco, food and alcohol are marketed and displayed, so that we can measure the effectiveness of our educational and policy efforts over time.
The Smoke-Free Marin Coalition is currently working with local governments on public health initiatives around smoke-free outdoor areas, parks, beaches, outdoor dining and multi-unit housing. We are also launching a new campaign to help city councils regulate vaping (e-cigarettes and e-hookahs) in the same places that tobacco use regulated. This is not an easy task since the tobacco companies, experienced in targeting youth, have taken over vaping companies, reversing years of progress. We have a big job ahead of us but we know that our community partners face similar foes with the junk food and alcohol industries. If you have a public health interest and would like to attend a meeting, please contact us on the contact form or send us an email (see below).