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Celebrating 20 Years of Tobacco Prevention Success in Lane County

| May 19, 2017

Governor Brown with Cottage Grove High School Principal Iton Udosenata and Youth Advisory Council

On Friday, May 19, Governor Brown visited Cottage Grove High School to celebrate the Tobacco Prevention & Education Program’s (TPEP) 20th Anniversary.  Upon entering the event, attendees received colorful “Everyday Tobacco Free” bracelets from the Cottage Grove Youth Advisory Council (YAC).  The room was nearly packed to its 96 person fire code capacity, and the excitement and energy in the air was tangible.  The list of attendees read like a countywide who’s who in tobacco prevention over the past 20 years.  Several elected dignitaries were in attendance, including Senator Manning, County Commissioners Bozievich, Farr, and Williams, and Cottage Grove Mayor Gowing, Creswell Mayor Stram, Eugene Mayor Vinis, and Springfield Mayor Lundberg.  Former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was also present.  Current and former city councilors and school board members attended.  Several Community Health Improvement Plan partners were present, representing the 100% Health Coalition, Trillium, PeaceHealth, United Way of Lane County, Cornerstone Community Housing, and many other organizations.  Many other local and state partners were in attendance, such as Cottage Grove Be Your Best Committee, Scarpelli’s Short Stop – a local hero tobacco retailer, Tobacco Free Lane County Coalition, American Cancer Society, Lane County Medical Society, Centro Latino Americano, Orchid Health, McKenzie Willamette Medical Center, Preventing Tobacco Addiction Foundation, and many others.   In addition, our own Alicia Hays, Jeff Lang and all current and previous TPEP coordinators and tobacco prevention staff were present.

Current and former Tobacco Prevention and Education Program staff. From left: Laura Hammond, Jennifer Jordan, Stephanie Young-Peterson, Christy Inskip, Stephen Brown, Christiane Ochoa

The event kicked off with Cottage Grove High School Principal Iton Udosenata welcoming everyone to their lovely library.  Then, Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division Director Lillian Shirley commended Lane County and our communities for our leadership in tobacco prevention statewide, mentioning the City of Eugene passing an Indoor Clean Air Law 7 years ahead of the comprehensive state law, the City of Cottage Grove expanding the Indoor Clean Air Act in Cottage Grove to include vape products, and Lane County increasing the legal tobacco purchase age from age 18 to 21.  Director Shirley discussed the history of tobacco prevention in Oregon and talked about how when Oregonians passed Measure 44 in 1996 it increased the price of tobacco, solidified Oregonians’ commitment to health, and dedicated some revenue to preventing youth from using tobacco and to helping people quit.  Director Shirley said that, in 1998, Oregon became the first state to offer help to quit tobacco through the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line.  She stated that since the passage of the measure, cigarette pack sales in Oregon have decreased by 55%.  In looking to the future, she outlined the state’s focus on increasing the price of tobacco, fighting exemptions to the Oregon Indoor Clean Air Act, and restricting candy and fruit-flavored tobacco.

Governor Kate Brown praised Lane County’s passage of Tobacco 21 and said she hopes the state follows the County’s lead.  She said, “Everyone in the community should be proud of what you’ve built here.  It’s really extraordinary.”  She added, “I look forward to signing that bill into law.”  She stated that she thinks “community engagement efforts are absolutely crucial.”  Governor Brown emphasized that she wants to make sure we, at all levels, continue to prevent young people from starting and to help people quit.  She said the 7,000 Oregonians who die each year from tobacco-related diseases is “absolutely unacceptable.  It keeps Oregon from moving forward.”  She reiterated, “The more people we can prevent starting to smoke, the better off, the healthier, and more vibrant our communities will be.”

Governor Brown applauded the Cottage Grove Youth Advisory Council (YAC) for their “leadership and extraordinary engagement in the process” of preventing young people from starting to smoke.  She presented the YAC with a tree to plant in the community to remind the community about their efforts to reduce youth access to tobacco.  In turn, the YAC presented the Governor with a plaque the members made from a piece of wood from the Chambers Railroad Bridge, a YAC t-shirt, City pin and bag.  Cottage Grove YAC members said too many young people use tobacco in their community, and they decided to step up and do something it.  They said, in Cottage Grove, tobacco is 4 times easier to get than fresh fruits and vegetables, and 7 in 10 tobacco retailers place tobacco or ads near toys or candy.  They advise the Cottage Grove City Council about tobacco and other issues affecting youth.  In 2016, when the Cottage Grove City Council was discussing tobacco retail licensing, the YAC recommended that the Council pass the ordinance.

Lane County Commissioner Pat Farr and Tobacco Prevention and Education Program Coordinator Christy Inskip holding a timeline of 20 years of tobacco prevention success in Lane County

Dr. Lisandra Perez Guzman, our very own Deputy Public Health Officer and preventive medicine physician with the CHC, spoke about her challenging and rewarding work helping patients in the CHC quit tobacco.  Then, County Commissioner Pat Farr stated that he was proud of the action Lane County has taken to protect kids from tobacco.  He held up a vial of “girl scout” cookie e-liquid and talked about how sweet and appealing these products are to kids.  He mentioned Lane County’s work with our community partners – PeaceHealth, Trillium, United Way of Lane County – on a shared Community Health Needs Assessment and Community Health Improvement Plan to prioritize tobacco-free environments and address youth tobacco use.  Commissioner Farr again highlighted Lane County’s achievement as the first county in Oregon to pass Tobacco 21 and also the first to require a license to sell tobacco and restrict tobacco stores from 1,000 feet

Governor Brown with Dr. Lisandra Perez Guzman, Lane County Deputy Public Health Officer and Physician, and Christy Inskip, Tobacco Prevention and Education Program Coordinator

of schools.  Commissioner Farr ended by thanking Christy Inskip for all of her tobacco prevention work.  To wrap up the event, Director Shirley graciously thanked everyone for coming.  She said, “This is a journey, this is not a one-off thing.  We can be proud of our efforts, but not take our eyes off the ball.”

Category: smoking, Tobacco

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