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(VENTURA COUNTY, Calif.) – Every year, on May 31, World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed, encouraging 24-hour abstinence from all forms of tobacco consumption.
On May 31, Ventura County Public Health (VCPH) is inviting the community to join the effort to go tobacco free by sharing the smoke-free message with friends, family, classmates, co-workers and community members.
Cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths annually, including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. Additionally, more than 16 million Americans are living with a tobacco-related diseases. While traditional smoking may be on the decline, e-cigarettes are on a rapid incline, especially among youth.
The goal of VCPH is to reduce tobacco use and tobacco-related illnesses and deaths, and influence social norms towards a tobacco-free County.
“Our mission is to protect the public’s health by building leadership skills among adult and youth leaders, promoting a healthy lifestyle, and educating the public about the benefits and resources available to achieve tobacco-free living”, explains Selfa Saucedo, MPH, Director of Health Education at Ventura County Public Health. “Our vision is to be one of the healthiest counties in the nation and this educational outreach campaign is designed to help amplify the message to the community, especially our vulnerable youth.”
ISSUES FOR YOUTH:
The use of e-cigarettes among youth has dramatically increased. Today, more high school students use e-cigarettes than regular cigarettes. The use of e-cigarettes is higher among high school students than adults.
As of 2018, three out of five eleventh graders had tried vaping in Ventura County.
Electronic cigarettes are battery operated devices that convert nicotine, additives and chemicals into vapor, and this vapor is thought to be safer to inhale. This is misleading because the cloud emitted is not vapor but an aerosol (a gas containing ultra-fine particles) that contain varying levels of toxicants and heavy metals. “Besides the large aerosol clouds that can be made with e-cigarettes/vape pens, the 15,500 e-juice flavor options are a marketing strategy to lure new, young customers, said Saucedo. “It’s no coincidence that flavorings in tobacco products add to their appeal.”
The VCPH Tobacco Policy is a program within the Community Health Equity and Promotion unit of Ventura County Public Health. It is responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive tobacco control plan for Ventura County.
Funds for the program have been made available through passage of the 1988 Tobacco Tax Initiative or Proposition 99 as well as the 2016 Tobacco Tax Increase or Proposition 56. The comprehensive tobacco control plan follows state guidelines and addresses the following three state mandated priorities:
“Education is the key to increase awareness of the harms of tobacco use, secondhand smoke and engage the community to become involved in tobacco control issues in their communities”, said Saucedo. “The public is invited to join a variety of programs that educate and engage the public on the dangers of tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and preventing youth access of tobacco products in a retail setting.”
Community members are encouraged to volunteer — visit SmokeFreeVC.org for more information and educational links. Or connect on Facebook at Ventura County Action on Smoking & Health.
You can also contact the Ventura County Public Health, Tobacco Policy Program to get more information on county, city or state of California laws regarding tobacco products or secondhand smoke by calling 805-981-6656 or if you are ready to quit smoking and need help, call 805-201-STOP (7867).
Media Contact: Jennifer Curtis-Neves, Consortium Media + PR
805-654-1564, ext. 116
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