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Press Release

Contra Costa County Tobacco Prevention Coalition Celebrates 25th Anniversary

June 15, 2009

Contra Costa County's Tobacco Prevention Coalition will host a celebration to honor the 25th anniversary of the coalition from 3-5 p.m. on June 24 at IBEW Local 302 at 1875 Arnold Drive in Martinez.

"In the last 25 years, the Coalition has played a vital role in reducing the effects of tobacco in Contra Costa through numerous efforts, such as reducing youth access to tobacco products, and protecting workers and residents from secondhand smoke," said Keisha Nzewi, Bay Area Advocacy Director for the American Heart Association and Coalition Co-Chair.

At the event, awards will be given to individuals and organizations who have contributed to the promotion, adoption or implementation of a significant tobacco prevention policy in Contra Costa County. Recipients of Award for Outstanding Contribution to Tobacco Prevention include the cities of Martinez and Richmond, California Senator Mark DeSaulnier, John Muir Health and Kaiser Permanente.

Additionally, a Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Dr. Joel White, former radiation oncologist at John Muir Health and a founding member of the Coalition, for his dedicated, lifelong commitment to tobacco prevention advocacy in Contra Costa.

The Coalition, which began in 1984, was instrumental in helping Contra Costa County become the first jurisdiction in the nation to implement a smoking ordinance to protect workers from secondhand smoke. It also played a key role in helping reduce the adult smoking rate in Contra Costa by 31% from 1990 to 2002.

The coalition has also been active in helping Contra Costa County reduce youth access to tobacco by encouraging tobacco retailer licensing. In 2003, the Board of Supervisors implemented a tobacco retailer-licensing program and within six months the rate of sales to minors dropped from 37% to 2%.

In October 2006, with the support of the coalition, the County Board of Supervisors became one of the first jurisdictions in the state to adopt a model Comprehensive Secondhand Smoke Protections Ordinance, strengthening indoor protections and prohibiting smoking in outdoor areas such as building doorways, parks, outdoor dining areas, service areas and common areas of multi-unit housing residences.

Most recently, this May, with the support of the coalition, Martinez became the first city in Contra Costa County to adopt a Comprehensive Secondhand Smoke Protections Ordinance, including outdoor and multi-unit housing protections that make it possibly the strongest in the state.

"We are proud of the considerable progress we have made, but we know there is still work to be done," said Paul Doolittle, Assistant Business Manager for IBEW Local #302 and Coalition Co-Chair. "Contra Costa must continue to work to eliminate one of the most preventable causes of disease and death by creating smoke-free environments."

For more information about the 25th Anniversary Celebration, call the Tobacco Prevention Project at 925-313-6214.

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Press Contact
  • Keisha Nzewi
  • 510-812-3390