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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LOOP Technical Assistance Trainer Serena Chen wins Jefferson Award for Landmark Tobacco Control Laws








Earlier this month, LOOP Technical Assistance Trainer Serena Chen won the Jefferson Award from CBS SF Bay Area (KPIX, KCBS) for her pioneering work in the tobacco control movement for the last 20 years.

Here are some excerpts from the article on CBS SF Bay Area’s website:

As policy director at the American Lung Association, Chen advocated alongside a group of anti-smoking residents and claimed victory when Belmont passed its landmark no-smoking law for apartments and condos in 2007.

“Thanks to Chen’s work in Belmont and the Bay Area, two million Californians in more than 30 cities now have smoke-free housing laws.”

“In all, she has advocated for more than 50 city and county smoke-free ordinances, from business districts to bus stops; from parks to public schools and public housing.”

“’In a very good sense, I saw my role always as an enabler,’ she explained. ‘I enable communities to get their voices heard.’”

The LOOP Team congratulates Serena on her accomplishments and on her long-term commitment to tobacco control in California! We also want to thank Serena for being a Technical Assistance Trainer for The LOOP!

Read full article here

Kern County Tobacco Free Coalition & Community Collaboration Supports Capacity-Building

Bakersfield “Clergy, Cops & Community” members of The LOOP who attended the Mentoring Center training in Oakland, CA with Chelsa Snead and Achebe Hoskins. Featured here are LOOP Technical Assistance Trainer Kevin Keyes and Pastor Toure Tyler.

Bakersfield tobacco control advocates, who are newly-recruited LOOP technical assistance trainers (TATs), recently attended a mentor training hosted by the Mentoring Center in Oakland, California. The group took the opportunity to meet with statewide members of The LOOP including Dr. Valerie Yerger and Carol McGruder who is also the Co-Chair for the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council. Carol and Valerie met with Pastor Toure Tyler from The Cross Christian Church and heard his story about struggling with cigarette addiction as a college student. When he learned about their research on menthol, he wanted to bring those efforts not only to his church but to community and faith-based organizations in Bakersfield. Since then, the groups in Kern County have hosted, under the collaborative efforts of the “Clergy Cops and Community” initiative, “The Great American Smokeout” event at New Life Residential Center. They also hosted “No Menthol Sunday” at The Cross Christian Church.

This capacity-building effort has expanded to include collaborative events working with churches in San Francisco and the Season of Peace Movement to stop gun violence in Bakersfield and Oakland. These collaborative efforts are aimed at addressing both gun violence and tobacco-related diseases. Bakersfield’s Danny Morrison, an active partner in the collaboration, has a powerful movement going called #HowLong, which uses rap music to spread the message of ending gun violence in the community.

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New Study: Rural and Tribal Residents and Smoke-Free Housing Policy


…That Most Public Housing Authority Residents Living in Rural and Tribal Settings Support Smoke-Free Policies?

A study published in the Journal of Community Health (December, 2016) examined attitudes towards smoking policies among public housing authority (PHA) residents in rural and tribal settings. A self-administered questionnaire was completed by 895 adult tenants living in PHA multiunit buildings in Montana in 2013.

Findings included:

  • The majority (80.6 %) of respondents supported having a smoke-free policy in their building, with support being significantly higher among nonsmokers and among residents living with children.
  • Tribal residents were as likely to support smoke-free policies as non-tribal residents.
  • Over half (56.5 %) of respondents reported secondhand smoke exposure in their home; residents in a building with no smoke-free policy in place were significantly more likely to report exposure.

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Join Our Webinar on Affordable Smoke-Free Housing on November 29th


Webinar: “Convincing Affordable Housing Providers to Go Smoke-Free”

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 (10:30am – 11:30pm PDT)

Guest Speaker: Serena Chen, MSW

The webinar will cover:

  • The different types of affordable housing providers and their primary missions (public housing vs. non-profit housing providers vs. Section 8/private landlords).
  • Impact of rent control laws on smoke-free housing campaigns.
  • Importance of building relationships with housing providers.

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dyk…That Menthol Cigarette Prevalence Use Has Increased In Asian, White And Hispanic Smokers Since 2010?

A study published in Tobacco Control (October 2016) examined non-menthol and menthol cigarette use prevalence in adolescents and adults using national data from 2004 to 2014.

Findings included:

  • Although overall smoking prevalence has decreased, the proportion of past 30-day cigarette smokers using menthol cigarettes was higher (39%) in 2012-2014 compared to 2008-2010 (35%).
  • Youth smokers remain the most likely group to use menthol cigarettes compared to all other age groups.
  • Menthol cigarette prevalence has increased in Asian, White and Hispanic smokers since 2010.
  • Menthol cigarette prevalence exceeded non-menthol cigarette prevalence in youth and young adult smokers in 2014.
  • Among smokers, menthol cigarette use was positively correlated with co-use of cigars.
  • Menthol cigarette and smokeless tobacco co-use also increased from 2004 to 2014.

The researchers concluded that because the youngest smokers are most likely to use menthol cigarettes, there is urgency to limit the impact of menthol cigarettes on the health of youth and young adults.

Click HERE to comment on the findings & engage with your peers on the Peer-to-Peer Exchange (P2PE). Click HERE to read the abstract.