Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Public Health Dept press release re: Tobacco Industry Continues to Market to Kids

SAN ANDREAS CA– New data released today shows that Calaveras County has more stores that sell candy, mint and liquor flavored tobacco products compared to similar counties and cities in the state.  The survey was conducted statewide from July through October 2013 at 7,300 retail stores. The survey also collected data about the availability of unhealthy food items and alcohol sold in convenience, supermarket, liquor, tobacco, small market, discount, drug and big-box stores.  Calaveras County findings from the stores surveyed include:
·         Over 83% sell the most popular brand of flavored cigarillos or little cigars

·         52% have unhealthy exterior advertising while only 9% have healthy exterior advertising

·         Alcopops or flavored alcoholic beverages are available in 100% of stores

·         Alcohol ads are placed three feet and below or near candy and toys at 74% of stores

This is the first time in California that 58 counties surveyed tobacco, alcohol and unhealthy food items together.  The results give us a picture of the challenges adults and youth face when shopping locally.

“While adult smoking rates in Calaveras County have dropped to 18.2%, we remain well above the state rate of 13.8%,” stated Dr. Kelaita, County Health Officer, “The tobacco industry continues to find new ways and new products to lure in our youth to try tobacco products,” Kelaita added. 

The findings also show that electronic cigarettes are hitting store shelves in Calaveras County, alarming Public Health officials and community partners. More than 43% of the local stores surveyed sell e-cigarettes. Statewide, the number of stores selling e-cigarettes quadrupled in the last two years, from 11.5% in 2011 to 45.7% in 2013. “These are highly addictive products that are being aggressively marketed,” said Kelaita. “The popularity of these products could undermine the work we’ve done to reduce tobacco use in Calaveras County and California,” continued Kelaita.

The local Tobacco Prevention Program is taking action to create positive change in our community.  By working with parents, youth and other partners, the community can make Calaveras a healthier place to live.
For state, regional and county specific data and more information on Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community, visit  For local information on what you can do, call the Tobacco Prevention Program, Public Health Services at 209.754.6460.