Fighting back: Educators, agencies join nonprofit for…


Santa Barbara County educators and native company members joined nonprofit Preventing Again Santa Maria Valley final week for a first-ever countywide tobacco prevention summit by way of Zoom as they search to halt youth tobacco use. 

The four-hour occasion, which drew about 80 registrants, was held Thursday to offer tobacco prevention info and instruments to these working with native youth resembling academics, principals and counselors. 

“The goal is to get those that have a bigger voice within the lives of scholars … with the hope that they’ll take the data they received and disseminate it to college students,” stated Edwin Weaver, government director of Preventing Again Santa Maria Valley. 

Whereas Preventing Again leads a number of youth wellness packages targeted on tobacco prevention and different subjects in the neighborhood, this was the primary 12 months the group was in a position to maintain a tobacco summit, because of $450,000 in funding via a federal Drug Free Group grant.

Summit attendees heard former tobacco customers share their tales, in addition to info from consultants about tobacco legal guidelines all through Santa Barbara County and the way vaping ads particularly goal completely different communities.

Yaneth Rodriguez, director of the Hispanic/Latino Coordinating Middle at USC, famous how promotional reductions for vaping merchandise and different promoting methods can attract youth, particularly these in mostly-Latinx areas.

“Two-thirds of children go to a comfort retailer a minimum of as soon as every week, so promoting is very efficient in the direction of youngsters,” Rodriguez stated. “Sure minority and ethnic teams are additionally subjected to extra tobacco advertisements in sure areas.”

The 2020 Nationwide Youth Tobacco Survey discovered that 23.6% of U.S. excessive schoolers and 6.7% of center schoolers used e-cigarettes, with round 1.73 million fewer youth utilizing tobacco merchandise than in 2019.

Nevertheless, with some consultants noting greater ranges of alcohol use through the COVID-19 pandemic, Weaver stated he’s wanting to see whether or not knowledge will present the same development over the previous 12 months for youth tobacco use.

“The pandemic hit, and theoretically, substance abuse would go up throughout a pandemic. It actually is difficult for us to measure if any of those ordinances or bigger steps that we took are going to be efficient in terms of youth discount,” he stated.

In response to American Lung Affiliation report card knowledge shared by the county Public Well being Division on the summit, nearly all of cities within the county have some stage of restriction for tobacco retail and use of tobacco in out of doors areas and housing, with some receiving higher scores than others. 

Guadalupe and Santa Maria, in addition to the unincorporated areas of Santa Barbara County, have carried out essentially the most restrictive tobacco retail insurance policies by requiring tobacco retailer licensing, banning the sale of flavored tobacco and setting minimal pack and worth ranges.

Such steps could make it tougher for youth to buy and use tobacco, in response to Nikita Gupta, outreach coordinator for the county’s Tobacco Prevention Program.

“If we up the pack dimension and the worth, it’s tougher for youth to purchase as simply or conceal,” Gupta stated, explaining that cheaper packs with smaller quantities of tobacco can show extra tempting to youngsters.

Whereas the cities of Carpinteria, Santa Barbara and Goleta have carried out one or two of the three really helpful tobacco retail restrictions, the cities of Solvang, Lompoc and Buellton haven’t carried out any. 

Relating to out of doors smoking, Santa Maria and Lompoc have designated the least quantity of websites as smoke-free areas, whereas Guadalupe, Carpinteria and Santa Barbara have designated essentially the most.

Most native cities even have mandated that flats, condominiums or housing frequent areas be smoke-free to stop the unfold of secondhand smoke. Nevertheless, Buellton, Lompoc and Santa Maria haven’t mandated any smoking restrictions associated to housing.

Santa Maria Metropolis Lawyer Thomas Watson stated town has not had points so far with their retail tobacco restrictions, including there are not any plans right now so as to add extra restrictions for housing and out of doors areas.

Weaver stated they hope to carry an in-person summit subsequent 12 months that might be used as a type of skilled growth for academics and different workers who work with youth. 

“It’s onerous for us to succeed in each seventh grader within the county, as a result of we’re simply 5 full-time [staff],” Weaver stated of the Preventing Again staff. “That’s why the summit is essential to our complete technique — seventh-grade well being academics will hopefully determine to cowl this stuff.” 

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