Did You Know That Cheap Cigarettes Are Even Cheaper In Neighborhoods With More Children And Asian or Pacific Islanders?

Retail marketing surveillance research highlights concerns about lower-priced cigarettes in neighborhoods with a higher proportion of racial/ethnic minorities, but focuses almost exclusively on premium brands. A recently published study (Nicotine & Tobacco Research, April 2017) examined neighborhood variation in prices for the cheapest cigarettes and a popular brand of cigarillos in a large statewide sample of licensed tobacco retailers in a low-tax state. A census of eligible licensed tobacco retailers in randomly selected zip codes (n=7,393 stores) was conducted in 2013. Two prices were requested: the cheapest cigarette pack regardless of brand and a single, flavored Swisher Sweets cigarillo.

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Alix Winston, LOOP Technical Assistance Trainer, Helps ‘Healthy Air Vallejo’ Advocate for Smoke-free Multi-unit Housing

As of April 2017, 90 California cities and counties had adopted smoke-free multi-unit housing (MUH) policies, protecting nonsmokers from the harmful effects of secondhand smoke. Healthy Air Vallejo, an initiative of Fighting Back Partnership coordinated through the Vallejo Community Change Coalition, is attempting to follow that trend by adopting a similar ordinance in Vallejo. Of Vallejo residents 18 years and older, 21.5% report suffering from asthma which is nearly double the state average yet there are no smoke-free apartment units in the city. Staff and committee members are actively educating community groups about the benefits of smoke-free housing and partnering with low-income apartment complexes to educate tenants and managers and gather public opinion data.

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Did You Know That A Recent Study Found Three Distinct Groups Of Users Among Menthol And Non-Menthol Cigarette Smokers?

Substance use and mental health are strongly associated with smoking and poor cessation outcomes, but not often examined in combination with menthol cigarette smoking. A recent study identified classes of Black and White menthol and non-menthol cigarette smokers based on demographics, alcohol, drug, and other tobacco use behaviors. A sample of 1,177 menthol and non-menthol cigarette smokers was classified based on demographic characteristics, heavy smoking, alcohol and drug use, desire to quit smoking, other tobacco product use, and use of psychotropic medication.

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Watch the video that features LOOP Director Dr. Valerie Yerger, LOOP Leadership Specialist Carol McGruder, Dr. Stanton Glantz, city and county officials, and more.


On Monday April 17, 2017, Supervisor Malia Cohen introduced legislation to prohibit the sale of all flavored tobacco products, including menthol, in the City and County of San Francisco.  While several other cities have enacted restrictions on flavors (and some that included menthol), this is the first blanket prohibition.

Introduction of this important law builds directly on educational activities about how menthol is used to target African American and other communities led by my colleague Valerie Yerger, Carol McGruder, and Phil Gardiner.  The educational activities have been and will continue to be a key elementof the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center’s SFCAN partnership with San Francisco to quickly reduce cancer in San Francisco.  This is a great example of research translation from the ivory tower to the community.

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…That Socially Disadvantaged Smokers Are Likely to Continue Smoking after a Cigarette Tax?
Smokers use cigarette expenditure minimizing strategies (CEMS) to alleviate the effect of tax increases on their cigarette expenses. A recently published study (Tobacco Control, February) examined changes in smokers’ cigarette expenditure minimizing strategies (CEMS) before and after a 2013 Minnesota $1.75 cigarette tax increase. Data were from representative samples of smokers who participated in the Minnesota Adult Tobacco Survey 2010 (n=948) and 2014 (n=1,229). Participants indicated CEMS used in the past year from a list.
Findings included:
  • Between 2010 and 2014, more smokers tried to save money on cigarettes by rolling their own cigarettes (from 19% to 29%), using other tobacco products (from 13% to 25%), and buying cigarettes from cheaper places (from 48% to 55%).
  • Fewer smokers used coupons/promotions (from 63% to 50%) and bought cigarettes by the carton (from 39% to 32%).
  • Smokers with lower education were more likely than those with higher education to purchase discount brands, roll their own cigarettes, use coupons/promotions and cut back on smoking.

The researchers concluded that socially disadvantaged smokers were most likely to use CEMS and continue smoking after a cigarette tax increase. Regulations that would reduce CEMS use could boost the effectiveness of cigarette tax increases.

Source: Choi & Boyle (2017). Changes in cigarette expenditure minimizing strategies before and after a cigarette increase. Tobacco Control, Feb 20. pii: tobaccocontrol-2016-053415.

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LOOP Director Dr. Valerie Yerger wins Carol M. Russell Leadership Award from CTCP!

The California Department of Public Health, California Tobacco Control Program (CDPH/CTCP) established the Carol M. Russell Leadership Award in 2001, in recognition of the leadership, vision, passion and commitment Carol brought during her 10 years with the California Tobacco Control Program.
On Thursday, April 27th, at the CTCP Project Directors’ Meeting, CTCP awarded this prestigious honor to our own LOOP Project Director, Dr. Valerie Yerger, for her decades of tireless work in tobacco control. Below are some of the excerpts from the nomination letters submitted for Valerie.
“Her research on menthol has been an instrumental part of reports to influence decisionmaking at the FDA and in countless communities interested in removing the unjustifiably last remaining allowable flavor of cigarettes- one that has been dangerously marketed to African-American, LGBT, and Asian/Pacific Islander communities for decades.”

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