Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
Section Newsletter
Spring 2007

From the Chair...

Welcome to the Spring 2007 ATOD Section Newsletter which focuses on evidence-based practice, in addition to our regular updates!  I hope you’re all doing great and enjoying the summer by the time you read this.  Regardless of the focus of our specific work, we’re all trying to ensure that the programs, policies and interventions that we’re pursuing in the alcohol, tobacco and other drug fields, are based on the latest available evidence to ensure that we have the greatest public health impact.  This issue of our newsletter will give you several resources or tools that you’ll find useful in your work.  Feel free to follow up, check out relevant Web sites, or reach out and contact your colleagues who are mentioned as resources.

 

I’d like to call your attention to several resources that I think will help in your work:

 

1)  The Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. (Plan, Link, Act, Network with Evidence-based Tools) is a Web portal that provides access to data and research-tested resources that can help tobacco control planners, program staff, and researchers design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based tobacco control programs. Click here for more information or go to http://cancercontrolplanet.cancer.gov/.  For more information, you can also contact:

Cynthia A. Vinson, MPA
Dissemination and Diffusion Coordinator
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
Telephone: 301-594-5906
Fax: 301-594-6787
E-mail: cvinson@mail.nih.gov

 

2)  Another Web site you might find useful is “Health Behavior Constructs:  Theory, Measurement and Research” at http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/constructs.   This Web site provides definitions of major theoretical constructs employed in health behavior research, and information about the best measures of these constructs.  This resource is designed for health behavior researchers in public health, health communications, nursing, psychology, and related fields.   This Web site is designed to provide:

·         Definitions of major health behavior constructs used in research in public health, health communications, nursing and health psychology;

·         Common measures used to assess these constructs; and

·         Descriptions of the construct’s theoretical backgrounds.

 

The goals of this Web site are to:

·         Advance theory-based basic and intervention research by providing common definitions, measures, and language;

·         Increase consistency in applying theoretical constructs;

·         Facilitate transdisciplinary discussions;

·         Allow researchers to more easily incorporate theory testing and development into research; and

·         Allow applied researchers and students to make comparisons of major theoretical elements.

3)  Another great resource that’s been around a while, and with which you may already be familiar, is The Guide to Community Preventive Services which addresses the prevention of alcohol, tobacco and other drug problems, located at: http://www.thecommunityguide.org  The Guide to Community Preventive Services serves as a filter for scientific literature on specific health problems that can be large, inconsistent, uneven in quality, and even inaccessible.  The Community Guide is a tool I’ve referenced often because it summarizes what is known about the effectiveness, economic efficiency, and feasibility of interventions to promote community health and prevent disease. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services makes recommendations for the use of various interventions based on the evidence gathered in the rigorous and systematic scientific reviews of published studies conducted by the review teams of the Community Guide. The findings from the reviews are published in peer-reviewed journals and also made available on this Internet Web site.

4)  Finally, my column wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention the new report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation just released last month.  As do most IOM reports, this one is sure to have a major impact on the field of tobacco control research, policy and practice.  It was written and edited by an outstanding group of tobacco control and public health professionals.  The National Academies summary page for the report with several relevant links is:  http://www.national-academies.org/morenews/20070524a.html  The online version of report is available at:  http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11795#toc

I think the bottom line is that this is a very important report that is calling for the field to increase adoption of what we already know works in tobacco control policy, including: comprehensive tobacco control programs, significant tax increases, comprehensive clean air laws covering the entire country, significant restrictions on marketing and youth access (including restricting the number of retailers that sell the products and requiring all to be licensed), providing broad regulatory authority to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including the authority to reduce the level of nicotine in cigarettes, and requiring all public and private health insurers to provide coverage of smoking cessation as a lifetime benefit.   The report recommends that the Federal government play a much larger role in antismoking efforts and an increased commitment by States and localities to implement policies that have been proven to be effective.

Lest you think I spent lots of time crafting pithy prose about the projects and Web sites I’ve mentioned above, if you investigate them, you’ll see that I’ve taken the language directly from the resources.  I wouldn’t want to be compared to public officials in Washington, D.C. who “borrowed” their plan for reorganizing the school system from their friends and colleagues in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County, North Carolina!

 

As usual, I’m happy to invite you to get more involved in our Section.  Feel free to contact any of our Section Leaders listed at the end of the newsletter, depending on your particular interests or expertise, or any of the individuals listed in the following articles—we’d all be glad to hear from you and get your help on our respective initiatives.  If you have an issue or topic that’s particularly important to you and you think should be on the radar screen of the ATOD Section and isn’t yet, feel free to call me at 301-496-0275.  I’ll be glad to hear from you and discuss how we can advance the issues by working together. 

 

Take it Easy & Enjoy Life!
Bob Vollinger
ATOD Chair

The Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T.

The Cancer Control P.L.A.N.E.T. (Plan, Link, Act, Network with Evidence-based Tools) is a Web portal that provides access to data and research-tested resources that can help tobacco control planners, program staff, and researchers to design, implement, and evaluate evidence-based tobacco control programs. Working through the 5 steps for comprehensive cancer control planning, those interested in developing evidence-based tobacco control programs can:

  1. Assess program priorities by analyzing the cancer burden on a local, state, or national level and assess risk factors to help identify high-risk populations and tobacco control and cancer control priorities.
  2. Identify potential partners working with community-based tobacco control programs by accessing contact information for ACS's Regional Cancer Control Planners, CDC's Comprehensive Cancer Control Network, Commission on Cancer’s state liaisons, and NCI's Cancer Information Service, as well as local tobacco control researchers funded by ACS, AHRQ, CDC, and NCI.
  3. Research reviews of different intervention approaches.  Learn about the most effective approaches for comprehensive cancer control and the research that examines various intervention strategies and approaches that have been shown to be effective or ineffective.
  4. Find research-tested intervention programs and products.  Adapt and adopt tobacco control interventions to address objectives by accessing an inventory of programs developed from scientific studies that have been shown to be effective; many of these programs can be downloaded or ordered free of cost.
  5. Plan and evaluate your program. Review resources and guidelines for planning, implementing, and evaluating comprehensive cancer control programs, and access tools for putting prevention into practice.

To access these tools please visit http://cancercontrolplanet.cancer.gov/.

Cynthia A. Vinson, MPA
Dissemination and Diffusion Coordinator
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences
National Cancer Institute
Telephone:  301-594-5906
Fax:  301-594-6787
E-mail: cvinson@mail.nih.gov

Evidence-Based Practices: Online Registry

SAMHSA recently unveiled a new Web site for the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP), part of the Agency’s Science to Service Initiative.

Designed over a 3-year period with input from scientists, health care service experts, and members of the public, the updated NREPP system will reach organizations across the Nation and disseminate timely and reliable information about effective interventions to prevent and treat mental and substance use disorders.

The new system helps states, territories, community-based organizations, and others to identify service models that may address their particular regional and cultural needs, and match their specific resource capacity.

With its online debut, NREPP provides both descriptive information and ratings for use by multiple audiences including treatment counselors, drug clinics, mental health centers, physicians, and other health care providers.

"The new NREPP is a major advance in SAMHSA’s work with the National Institutes of Health—specifically the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Institute of Mental Health—to translate substance abuse and mental health research findings into practice," said SAMHSA Administrator Terry L. Cline, Ph.D.

As more interventions become available through NREPP, the adoption of effective, evidence-based services will move more quickly, which will help expand SAMHSA’s Science to Service Initiative, Dr. Cline said.

Key Features

The new NREPP system includes the following key features:

  • A searchable database that can be customized by users to identify specific interventions based upon desired outcomes, target populations, and/or service settings.
  • Separate Web pages that provide salient information about each NREPP intervention, including a brief descriptive summary and the complete contact information for the intervention developer.
  • Two independent ratings (on a 0 to 4 scale) are provided by trained experts for each NREPP intervention. One rates the quality of the research evidence for intervention outcomes; the second rates the availability of actual materials and trainings. With these materials, typical providers in routine service settings can get the support they need to adopt the intervention.
  • A clearly articulated process—including an annual Federal Register notice—for soliciting submissions to NREPP that address service needs and gaps in the substance abuse and mental health fields.

"The new NREPP system allows stakeholders to quickly identify and evaluate key outcomes for a variety of interventions," said Kevin Hennessy, Ph.D., Science to Service Coordinator at SAMHSA’s Office of Policy, Program, and Budget. "The system will help users determine whether certain services would work well in specific local efforts to prevent or treat mental and substance use disorders."

NREPP currently contains approximately 25 interventions and is supported in the President’s Fiscal Year 2008 Budget (see SAMHSA News article, President's Budget Sustains Key Programs). Because more than 200 interventions are currently in the queue for NREPP review, with additional interventions submitted each year, monthly additions of 5 to 10 new interventions are expected.

To view the new NREPP Web site, visit www.nrepp.samhsa.gov.

Starting Your Search

NREPP is a good place to start researching the interventions that might work for your organization.

The information provided through NREPP is best viewed as a starting point for further investigation. SAMHSA recommends that NREPP users consider all available information carefully, contact intervention developers, and consult additional resources before making decisions about the use of specific interventions.

For more information, visit: www.nrepp.samhsa.gov.

 

This article appears courtesy of SAMHSA News, Volume 15, Number 2, March/April 2007.  SAMHSA News is the official newsletter of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Articles are free of copyright and may be reprinted.  Please give proper credit and notify editor at Deborah.Goodman@samhsa.hhs.gov.   Other issues of SAMHSA News may be accessed at www.samhsa.gov/SAMHSA_News.

Acting Surgeon General Issues National Call to Action on Underage Drinking

In its first Call to Action against underage drinking, the U.S. Surgeon General's Office appealed to Americans to do more to stop America's 11 million current underage drinkers from using alcohol, and to keep other young people from starting.  In March 2007, Acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu, M.D., M.P.H., laid out recommendations for government and school officials, parents, other adults and the young people.

"Too many Americans consider underage drinking a rite of passage to adulthood," said Dr. Moritsugu. "Research shows that young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life. New research also indicates that alcohol may harm the developing adolescent brain. The availability of this research provides more reasons than ever before for parents and other adults to protect the health and safety of our nation's children."

Although there has been a significant decline in tobacco and illicit drug use among teens, underage drinking has remained at consistently high levels. The 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates there are 11 million underage drinkers in the United States. Nearly 7.2 million are considered binge drinkers, typically meaning they drank more than five drinks on occasion, and more than two million are classified as heavy drinkers.

Developed in collaboration with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Call to Action identifies six goals:

  • Foster changes in society that facilitate healthy adolescent development and that help prevent and reduce underage drinking.
  • Engage parents, schools, communities, all levels of government, all social systems that interface with youth, and youth themselves in a coordinated national effort to prevent and reduce underage drinking and its consequences.
  • Promote an understanding of underage alcohol consumption in the context of human development and maturation that takes into account individual adolescent characteristics as well as environmental, ethnic, cultural, and gender differences.
  • Conduct additional research on adolescent alcohol use and its relationship to development.
  • Work to improve public health surveillance on underage drinking and on population-based risk factors for this behavior.
  • Work to ensure that policies at all levels are consistent with the national goal of preventing and reducing underage alcohol consumption.

"Alcohol remains the most heavily abused substance by America's youth," said Dr. Moritsugu. "This Call to Action is attempting to change the culture and attitudes toward drinking in America. We can no longer ignore what alcohol is doing to our children."

Copies of The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking and other related materials are available at http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/underagedrinking/ or by calling the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.

IOM Report: Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation – Now Available

Excise Tax Boosts, Restrictions on Tobacco Marketing, and Federal Regulatory Control Over Tobacco Are Among Steps Needed to Reduce Smoking in the U.S.

 

A combination of increased excise taxes, nationwide indoor smoking bans, and other measures would significantly lower the U.S. smoking rate, which now hovers at around 21 percent of the adult population, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.  But to achieve faster, more certain reductions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be given broad regulatory authority over tobacco marketing, packaging, and distribution, and other revisions to current tobacco policy should be enacted, said the committee that wrote the report.

 

Although smoking in the United States has declined by more than 50 percent since 1964, tobacco use still claims about 440,000 lives every year, and secondhand smoke causes another 50,000 deaths annually.  Smoking-related health costs are estimated to be $89 billion a year. 

 

Ending the Tobacco Problem: A Blueprint for the Nation proposes a two-pronged approach to further reduce tobacco use in the United States.  The first element focuses on strengthening existing tobacco control measures to preserve and enhance the gains already made.  The committee's recommendations include:

 

  • Increasing the federal excise tax on cigarettes substantially, and boosting taxes in states with lower rates to achieve greater parity in prices nationwide and thwart interstate smuggling.
  • Dedicating $15 to $20 per capita annually of the proceeds from higher taxes or other resources to fund tobacco control efforts in each state.
  • Imposing smoking bans in all nonresidential indoor settings nationwide, including restaurants, bars, malls, prisons, and health care facilities.
  • Requiring all public and private health insurance plans to make coverage of smoking cessation programs a lifetime benefit.
  • Licensing retail outlets that sell tobacco products.
  • Launching additional efforts aimed at curbing youth interest in smoking and access to tobacco, including bans on online sales of tobacco products and direct-to-consumer shipments.

These measures focus on reducing demand for cigarettes, but do not address the addictive aspects of tobacco or constrain manufacturers' incentives to attract more smokers.  The committee expressed concern that overall smoking rates may not drop significantly below 15 percent and that youth smoking rates may not fall permanently below 20 percent unless the basic legal framework of the tobacco market is changed.  Therefore, it proposed a second set of further-reaching recommendations.  Specifically, the committee called for:

 

  • Changing federal law to give FDA authority to regulate tobacco products, including powers to restrict how they can be marketed.
  • Removing federal restrictions on state laws so that states are free to supplement federal regulations with more stringent measures to suppress smoking.
  • Limiting tobacco advertising and promotional displays to text-only, black-and-white formats.
  • Prohibiting tobacco companies from using misleading terms such as "mild" and "light."
  • Requiring new, large pictorial warnings on the harmful effects of smoking -- similar to those required in Canada -- on all cigarette packs and cartons.
  • Requiring manufacturers to correct false or misleading information on products and at the point of sale.
  • Restricting the type or number of outlets that can sell tobacco products, and requiring them to display warnings and give a proportional amount of space to cessation aids.
  • Prohibiting tobacco companies from targeting youth for any purpose and urging them to redirect money they now spend on prevention to independent public health organizations.
  • Developing a plan for gradually reducing the allowable nicotine content of cigarettes.

The study was sponsored by the American Legacy Foundation.  Established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine provides independent, objective, evidence-based advice to policymakers, health professionals, the private sector, and the public.  The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. 

 

For more information go to: http://books.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11795.  This site provides ordering information, a free pdf of the Executive Summary, a Report in Brief and a podcast of the public briefing.  The latter three items are located in the “Download Free” area of the site.

NCI Releases 18th Monograph in Tobacco Control Monograph Series – Greater than the Sum: Systems Thinking in Tobacco Control

The National Cancer Institute presents the 18th monograph in the Tobacco Control Monograph Series, Greater than the Sum: Systems Thinking in Tobacco Control. This monograph describes key lessons from the first two years of the Initiative on the Study and Implementation of Systems (ISIS). The ISIS project, funded by the National Cancer Institute, was one of the first major coordinated efforts to explore the application of systems thinking approaches and methodologies to public health.

Just as Monograph 1, Strategies to Control Tobacco Use in the United States: A Blueprint for Public Health Action in the 1990's, provided a groundbreaking approach to tobacco control, Monograph 18 gives those in tobacco control and in public health a new approach and a set of methodologies to achieve further change.  Go to http://www.cancercontrol.cancer.gov/tcrb/monographs/18/index.html for more information or to print a pdf copy or order a print copy of the report.

NCI Summary Report: Examination of Light and Intermittent Smokers

The NCI summary report, What's in a Name? Examination of Light and Intermittent Smokers, was released May 2007. The report outlines specific high-priority research recommendations and aims to set a tobacco control research agenda to address an understudied research topic-light and intermittent smoking. The report is a product of a meeting which convened leading scientists in the field of tobacco control to review the state of the science on light and intermittent smokers, summarize research progress, identify gaps, limitations, and challenges in research, and develop and prioritize recommendations to advance research related to this growing subgroup of smokers. View the Summary Report online at: http://dccps.cancer.gov/tcrb/LITS4-7.pdf .

NCI Cosponsored Workshop: The Future of Youth Tobacco Cessation Research

As part of the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative, NCI, NIDA and ACS cosponsored The Future of Youth Tobacco Cessation Research Workshop May 8-9, 2007.  The overarching goal of the workshop was to examine progress and future directions in youth tobacco cessation research. Participants of the meeting adjourned to discuss past research efforts, inform youth tobacco cessation research from other youth-focused interventions, and develop future research priorities. The workshop fostered new ideas to translate basic research to future cessation approaches, ways to manage methodological challenges, and innovative approaches to target specific populations. A summary report will be made available in the future. Learn more about the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative at: www.youthtobaccocessation.org.

NCI Meeting: State and Community Tobacco Control Policy Research and Dissemination

The NCI held the State and Community Tobacco Control Policy Research and Dissemination: The Next Generation Meeting April 16-17, 2007. The key objective of this meeting was to gather input on a broad range of perspectives regarding priorities for policy and population-based research, particularly as it relates to state and community-based tobacco control programs. Participants reviewed highlights from previous NCI research in this area through two rounds of the Tobacco Research Initiative for State and Community Interventions (TRISCI). Directions outlined at the meeting will assist in developing future state, community and policy research initiatives. Learn more about the TRISCI initiatives at: http://dccps.cancer.gov/tcrb/scrfa.html.

Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centers

Transdisciplinary Tobacco Use Research Centers (TTURC) held an investigator meeting in April 2006 to discuss current projects and goals. Funded by NCI, NIDA, and NIAAA, TTURCs, facilitate a transdisciplinary approach to reduce the disease burden of tobacco use. Currently, TTURC investigators are working on a diverse range of projects, including studies of the pharmacogenetics of nicotine addiction, cessation, prevention, and international tobacco control. Other studies underway in this group include mouse models of neurocognitive effects of smoking, examinations of psychiatric comorbidity, and the physiology of gender differences in the role of stress in relapse. For more information: http://dccps.cancer.gov/tcrb/tturc/index.html.

New Findings from Monitoring the Future

New information has been released recently from the Monitoring the Future study.  You can find the Overview of Key Findings 2006 on their Web site at www.monitoringthefuture.org. This report presents results on adolescent substance use from the 2006 survey of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students nationwide, as well as trends in their use since 1991. The report provides a synopsis of the latest findings at the beginning, as well as two-page sections devoted to each drug class, along with a standard set of trend figures for each.  A much more elaborated set of findings will be forthcoming soon in MTF’s annual monograph series.

Recent Releases by SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies (OAS)

SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies (OAS) provides the latest national data on (1) alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drug abuse, (2) drug-related emergency department episodes and medical examiner cases, and (3) the nation’s substance abuse treatment system.  To find OAS’s recent releases go to the following OAS Web page:  http://oas.samhsa.gov/newpubs.htm.  You can also get to this page from the main OAS Web page:  http://oas.samhsa.gov/.  Click on “What’s new” at the top left of the screen.  If you scroll down the page you’ll see all the reports released in 2007 (and in earlier years). 

 

Click here if you would like to be notified by e-mail of new OAS reports.

APHA Student Assembly Alumni Database

This year, the APHA-Student Assembly (SA) Opportunities Committee has worked to provide more resources to students regarding scholarships, conferences, job postings, potential employers, and fellowships/internships. In addition to these endeavors, the committee has worked to revamp the SA Alumni Database. The alumni database allows the SA to keep track of their past members and also provides current and potential students access to possible careers in the public health field.

Through this database, students can look at job positions held by public health professionals currently in the field. Potential students can also view jobs that people with public health degrees have to gain a better understanding of the wide variety of career paths available to them. SA alumni range from recent graduates working in fellowships or entry-level positions to seasoned health professionals with well-established research agendas.

This database also allows students to contact past members and ask questions about the paths leading to their current positions, the kind of entry-level positions someone should look for in order to forge a similar career path, or how they should prepare to begin their own career path.

The SA Opportunities Committee Co-Chairs are working to increase participation of SA alumni in the database. As regular members of APHA, many of you were probably once Student Assembly (previously entitled Public Health Student Caucus) members. We are asking those alumni to please complete the form, available on the Opportunities Committee Website (http://www.aphastudents.org/opportunities.php) under the link for the Alumni Database. This endeavor would not be possible without the cooperation of the SA alumni.

If you have any questions or want more information, please feel free to contact Jennifer Cremeens at opportunities@apahstudents.org.

Jennifer Cremeens

Co-Chair SA Opportunities Committee

Politics, Policy & Public Health, APHA’s 135th Annual Meeting

Join us in discussing Politics, Policy & Public Health at the APHA 135th Annual Meeting and Exposition, Nov. 3-7, 2007 in Washington, D.C.  Discounts are available for students!  Please check the APHA Web site at www.apha.org/meetings for more information.

Spykes Pulled from Market

Spykes Pulled from Market after Pressure from Public Health Advocates and Attorneys General

 

Pressure from the attorneys general from 29 states, local coalitions, concerned parents, and public health groups convinced Anheuser-Busch to discontinue production of Spykes this spring.  Spykes was an alarming alco-pop product that was introduced in 2005 and marketed on the Internet, and became available nationwide last December.  Parents and public health advocates charged that Spykes were targeted to young people. Packaged in two-ounce containers and selling for 75 cents to one dollar apiece, Spykes were brightly colored liquors with names like Spicy Mango, Hot Melons, Spicy Lime, and Hot Chocolate.  George Hacker of the Center for Science in the Public Interest was one of many advocates who were alarmed by the trendy, youth-oriented product, calling it “a shameful ploy to sell liquor to the Lunchables set.”

 

Alco-pops is the name frequently given to sweet, brightly colored alcoholic beverages that are appealing to young people.  Sometimes called, “alcohol on training wheels”, alco-pops are often more familiar to young people than their parents.  Spykes was especially concerning, since they were malt liquor with nearly double the alcohol concentration of beer.  Spykes also contained caffeine and ginseng, giving the impression that they were an energy drink. Mike Scippa, of the Marin Institute, an alcohol policy watchdog group based in San Rafael, California, said this combination made Spykes appealing to both females and males.   He calls Spykes “an entry-level drink, particularly for young women,” that “also crossed the line into energy drinks, which young men enjoy.”

 

The attorneys general contacted Anheuser-Busch and expressed “serious concern about your company’s promotion and sale of alcoholic energy drinks—alcoholic beverages that contain caffeine and other stimulant and are highly attractive to underage youth.”  Anheuser-Busch agreed to pull the product in May, despite its insistence that criticism of the product was unfounded, claiming that the product had not performed up to expectations in the market.

 

Regardless of Anheuser-Busch’s denials of Spykes’ youthful appeal, the withdrawal of this product is an important victory for public health advocates, drawing the support of groups across the nation as well as the attorneys general from nearly 30 states.

 

Linda M. Bosma, PhD

(Note, the author is a board member of the Marin Institute)

Recent Progress Toward Smokefree Protections

Six states and thirty municipalities have enacted strong smokefree workplace laws so far this year, and many more laws are still under consideration.  These statewide public health victories were built on the foundation established by years of hard work at the local level. Most of these state laws include strong anti-preemption clauses which are key for maintaining the rights of local governments to enact stronger smokefree laws for their communities.  

 

Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico enacted strong 100% smokefree statewide laws that cover most workplaces, restaurants, and bars.  New Mexico’s law takes effect on June 15, Minnesota’s “Freedom to Breathe Act” is effective on October 1, and Maryland’s law starts on February 1, 2008.  In addition, Colorado strengthened its smokefree law by removing the exemption for casinos.  All Colorado casinos are scheduled to go smokefree July 1, 2008.

 

Illinois also passed a strong law that is awaiting the Governor’s signature.  Illinois is a great example of how perseverance and hard work can have a huge pay off.  Prior to 2005, the state was preempted from passing local smokefree laws.  After the repeal of Illinois’ preemption, over 50 strong local smokefree laws were passed.  This massive success at the local level led to the passage of a strong statewide smokefree law which covers all indoor workplaces, including restaurants, bars, and casinos.  The Illinois law is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2008. 

 

New Hampshire and Tennessee legislatures have passed smokefree legislation that contain exemptions.  New Hampshire’s law will make all restaurants and bars smokefree, but exempts other workplaces like factories and offices.  Tennessee’s law has an age exemption; establishments open to patrons 21 and older can permit smoking.  Neither of these state laws repeal preemption, so cities’ hands are still tied on addressing loopholes.

 

Ten South Carolina communities enacted smokefree laws by mid-2007, including Charleston, although two trial courts have issued conflicting rulings as to whether local communities can enact such laws. Advocates successfully fought off one threat to pass a preemption bill in the State Legislature; other preemptive bills are still pending.

 

Virginia’s legislature considered a bill for 100% smokefree restaurants and bars, but it was severely weakened. When the legislature rejected Governor Kaine’s amendments to restore the bill’s effectiveness, he vetoed it, thus preventing enactment of a bad law. 

 

Smokefree laws are still under consideration in Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

 

The good news is that more than 56% of the U.S. population is protected by a local or state law for workplaces, restaurants, or bars.  While there is great momentum toward smokefree laws, only 24% are protected by a law that addresses all three categories. Many of the new strong smokefree laws unfortunately still leave some workers behind.   Everyone should have the right to breathe clean air in the workplace.

 

Cynthia Hallet, MPH

Play Fair Breaks New Ground

The recent The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking included a number of strategies that, as stated in the report, “can contribute to a culture that discourages adults from providing alcohol to minors and that supports an adolescent's decision not to drink”. Specifically, the report recommended that communities “w ork with sponsors of community or ethnic holiday events to ensure that such events do not promote a culture in which underage drinking is acceptable”. 

 

In Marin County, California, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a group of concerned community organizations have been working with the Marin County Fair since 2004 to implement this very recommendation.  In fact, the Marin County Fair was the first fair in the nation to dump its beer sponsors.  This unique community sponsorship model made history in 2006 when the Marin County Board of Supervisors took the remarkable step of banning all alcohol sponsorships and advertising at the Marin County Fair. 

 

The Play Fair partnership is made up of a wide-variety of public and private partners all concerned with the health and safety of young people.  This year’s partnership has grown to eleven organizations and includes: Bay Area Community Resources, Center Point, Inc., First 5 Marin Children and Families Commission, Healthy Marin Partnership, Huckleberry Youth Programs, Marin County Health and Human Services, Marin Community Foundation, Marin County Office of Education, Marin County Board of Supervisors, the Marin Institute, and the Youth Leadership Institute.

 

Play Fair promotes safe and healthy habits by showcasing the wide variety of organizations working with young people and the community,” said Rene Sayles, an advocate with the Youth Leadership Institute who, along with a number of other youth and community partners, led the charge with the Marin County Board of Supervisors to ban alcohol sponsorship at the County Fair.  “These organizations have rallied together to support their common goal: a healthy future for all young people."

 

Why is all this important?  Everyday young people are bombarded with advertisements promoting the consumption of alcohol on television, the radio, the internet, in magazines, and at community fairs and festivals.  In fact, youth under the age of 21 are often more likely to see marketing for alcohol products than adults.  This is particularly concerning because new research shows that exposure to alcohol marketing influences young people’s decision to drink. 

 

This year, Play Fair expanded its mission, previously focused solely on alcohol-control, to “engaging communities by reducing youth overexposure to the marketing and promotion practices of the alcohol, tobacco, and fast food industries at community events in Marin County.”

 

 

Before:  Alcohol Industry sponsorship and promotion took over the dining tent. 
Before:  Alcohol Industry sponsorship and promotion took over the dining tent.

 

image here
After: Play Fair now sponsors this family-friendly environment.
“Our expanded mission reflects how important we think these issues are for our youth,” explained Pat Kendall, Medical Group Administrator for Kaiser San Rafael and the Chair of the Healthy Marin Partnership, which also sponsors the Prevention Pavilion at the Fair.  “We’ve come together from alcohol, tobacco and nutrition initiatives to fight the pervasive presence of unhealthy marketing to our kids and in our community.

In fact, Play Fair sponsorship was so groundbreaking that both Marin County and the Marin County Fair have received numerous awards and recognition for this effort, including an achievement award from the Western Fair Association. “The messages we adults send about alcohol have a huge impact on youth decision-making about alcohol use,” said Maureen Sedonaen, founder and president of the Youth Leadership Institute. “Play Fair’s work at our county fair not only helps young people now, but will help shape community values and messages for future generations.”

 

To learn more about Play Fair or to get involved, visit www.playfairmarin.org or contact Gary Najarian at 415-499-4230.

 

Gary Najarian

 

Keep Your E-mail Address Up to Date

E-mail has become a primary means of communication within our Section and APHA. Please notify APHA of any changes in your e-mail address or other contact information at www.apha.org. If you are part of the ATOD Listserv, please notify Marilyn Daley at daley@brandeis.edu of any changes in your e-mail address.

Call for Moderators for Annual Meeting

The ATOD Section needs moderators for the 135th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.,  Nov. 3-7, 2007.  If you are interested, please download a sign up form from the ATOD Web site at:  http://www.hhd.org/apha/.  If preferred, you can e-mail Linda Bosma, Program Chair with your interest at: linda@bosmaconsulting.com . Please put APHA Moderator in the subject heading.

ATOD Listserv Available

The ATOD Section has set up a listserv to help members communicate with each other on matters relating to policy, practice and research in the areas our Section covers. The listserv is a way to quickly inform others of developments, solicit assistance on matters of ATOD policy and its implementation and alert our members to opportunities and events of interest.

 

Control of the listserv will remain exclusively with the ATOD Section and all listings will be kept strictly confidential. Messages will be disseminated only after the sender and message content have been "vetted" as appropriate for our Section.

 

To join the listserv, e-mail your name and e-mail address to the Listserv Coordinator, Marilyn Daley, at daley@brandeis.edu.

 

To provide a message for posting (after vetting), e-mail the material to the Listserv Coordinator, Marilyn Daley, at daley@brandeis.edu. You do not have to be a member of the Listserv to post messages.

 

Tell your colleagues about upcoming events, conferences, programs, research, opportunities or anything you are interested in. If your e-mail address changes, or you wish to unsubscribe, e-mail Marilyn as well.

Newsletter Articles Requested

This is your newsletter, so please send us information you would like to share with your colleagues. We're interested in summaries of conferences, commentaries on articles, research or policies and announcements about conferences. If you have important news, we'd like to hear about it and publish it in the APHA-ATOD Section Newsletter. Please e-mail your news to brolin@brandeis.edu. The deadline for our fall issue is September 15, 2007.

ATOD Section Leadership

 

Chair

Bob Vollinger

bob.vollinger@nih.gov

Chair Elect

Ann Mahony

amahony@samhsa.gov

Immediate Past Chair

Fran Stillman

fstillma@jhsph.edu

Secretary

Mary Brolin

brolin@brandeis.edu

Section Councilors

Jamie Chriqui

jchriqui@mayatech.com

 

Shereen Khatapoush

skhatapoush@cadasb.org

 

Leonard Lamkin

lamkin_cpsf@iomc.org

 

Gary Najarian

gnajarian@co.marin.ca.us

 

Mark Parascandola

paramark@mail.nih.gov

 

Jennifer Wierewille Norton

norwille@comcast.net

Governing Councilors

Linda Bosma

linda@bosmaconsulting.com

 

Johnetta Davis-Joyce

davis@pire.org

 

Cynthia Hallet

cynthia.hallet@no-smoke.org

 

Donald Zeigler

donald.zeigler@ama-assn.org

Annual Program Chair

Linda Bosma

linda@bosmaconsulting.com

Social Event Coordinator

Open Position

Booth Coordinator

Marilyn Daley

daley@brandeis.edu

Moderator Coordinator

Shereen Khatapoush

skhatapoush@cadasb.org

Poster Monitor

Open Position

 

Review Completion Monitor

Linda Bosma

linda@bosmaconsulting.com

Awards Chair

Andre Stanley

stanleag@dhec.sc.gov

Newsletter Editor

Mary Brolin

brolin@brandeis.edu

Listserv Coordinator

Marilyn Daley

daley@brandeis.edu

Program Handout Coordinator

Vinitha Meyyur

vmeyyur@shs.net

Web Site Coordinator

Mark Parascandola

paramark@mail.nih.gov

Membership Chair

Carol Schmitt

cschmitt@rti.org

Nominations Chair

Fran Stillman

fstillma@jhsph.edu

Action Board Representative

Lenny Lamkin

lamkin_cpsf@iomc.org

Fundraising Committee

Ruth Malone

ruth.malone@ucsf.edu

Inter-Section Council Member

Diana Conti

dianac@parca.org

Publications Board Representative

Norman Giesbrecht

norman_giesbrecht@camh.net