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We used to pick it - now they want us to smoke it!

                         March, 2003 / Vol. 2, No. 3

This Month:  Read about our new advocates!
What's in this issue of the Newsletter:
What are the Current Tobacco Laws?
Provider Meeting: Recruitment
Beedies and Youth Culture
Divestment Update
New Participants
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tobac_up.gif (146 bytes)        What are the Current
                     Tobacco Laws

1. Smokefree Workplaces, Restaurants, and Bars.

2. Ban on Outdoor Tobacco Advertising and Promotion

3. Self-Service Display Ban

4. Illegal Sale of Tobacco to Minors

5. Ban on Free Distribution of Tobacco Products

6. Ban on Promotional Items in San Francisco Schools

7. Statewide Ban on All Joe Camel Advertisements

8. Moratorium on Sale of Tobacco Paraphernalia in Most Zoning Districts in San Francisco.

9. Ban on Cigarette and Tobacco Advertising on City and County Property

10. Ban on sales of single cigarettes.


tobac_up.gif (146 bytes)   Provider Meeting: Recruitment

On Wednesday, February 11th, Tobacco Free Project Providers met at Goodwill Administrative Offices. New members from the Mission Housing Agenda gave reports on their latest tobacco research. They've attempted to open some lines of communication with the big tobacco companies and are getting some feedback in the form of information packets from one tobacco company.

At the previous meeting a few providers had raised the issue of meeting the recruitment challenge, so Susana Hennesy-Toure suggested recruitment as the main topic of our February 11th meeting. Providers approached the topic mainly as an opportunity to share ideas. The SFAATFP shared its flyers and its contact list. The Booker T. Washington Community Center created a very useful list of definitions it had created to better guide its youth advocates.

The highlight of the afternoon was a presentation by the Chinese Progressive Association. From petition to press advisory, they explained the steps they took to remove a particularly large and offensive tobacco billboard in China Town. Gordon Mar of the CPA showed a video of the wonderful media coverage the event received and gave Providers points on mobilizing for social change.


tobac_up.gif (146 bytes)    Divestment Update

The SFAATFP's Lisa Manning, Karen Licavoli of the American Lung Association, Kirk Kleindschmidt of the American Heart Association, and Leah Sturtz, the Coalition's new financial consultant met on February 26th at San Francisco Supervisor Michael Yaki's office to discuss the process of getting the San Francisco Retirement Board to divest from tobacco stocks. The meeting lasted less than twenty minutes with Supervisor Yaki immediately announcing that although he would not be attending the next Retirement Board meeting, he had placed the Tobacco Free Coalition on the agenda for March 31st, at 2:00 pm for a fifteen minute presentation before the members.

During the rest of the meeting Supervisor Yaki mainly gave discouraging remarks to the small Coalition delegation, saying theat the "retirees are not very happy about this," and that Coalition members "don't have a chance" in convincing board members to vote for divestment because retirees won't feel comfortable "not playing the market like everyone else is playing the market." Fortunately Leah Sturtz was able to answer Yaki with reasons why the retirees don't need to worry about their Funds, but Yaki insisted that the retirees won't hear those reasons, and that Coalition members should be prepared for it at the March 31st meeting.

When asked if he had spoken to Mayor Brown about the Coalition's interest in getting the Retirement Board to divest, Supervisor Yaki said that the mayor had responded, "I'll look at it, but show me the bottom line." Yaki's last suggestion was that the Coalition ought to speak to Pat Martella, Al Caciatto, a representative of the police, and Joe Driscoll, a representative of the firefighters.

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The SFAATFP along with the rest of the San Francisco Tobacco Free Project is entering a very exciting period. We are in the last six months of a two year contract and are ready to complete our research and diagnosis so that we can begin our Global Framework Actions. The SFAATFP couldn't do it wihout the help of our new Intern/Advocates. Carol and I are very impressed with our three 8th graders. They're smart and enthusiastic and have already given us ideas we can use.

Keep reading us to see changes in the new year for a close-up view of Tobacco Control.

We pay $15.00 for any photographs, articles, or letters that we publish, so please send 'em in!

Ernestine Daniel,
Project Coordinator

tobac_up.gif (146 bytes)   Beedies and Youth Culture

by Lisa Manning

At the Coalition meeting on Wednesday, March 3rd, some of the Providers brought their youth interns. It was the biggest Coalition meeting I've ever attended and the presence of the youth created a lot of energy. There was a true exchange of information between the youth and adults throughout the meeting. It was especially nice to see Booker T. Washington's advocates teach many Coalition members about beedies cigarettes.

The adult Coalition members passed around beedies samples in amazement. Some of them were seeing beedies for the first time. For me, their surprise demonstrated the divide between adult culture and youth culture. Many of the adult members couldn't understand how such a significant part of youth culture was carrying on beneath their noses while they knew nothing of it. One of my favorite questions from an adult that afternoon was, "If it's not advertised, how do young people know about it?" I wonder if the adult who asked that question learned Miss Mary Mack as a child from an adult or from other children. As a first grader, my parents and teachers taught me how to write, how to dress myself for school, but it was other children who taught me what cooties were and who had them. Sometimes we adults forget that youth are not just soaking up influence from the environment but, like all humans in a culture, are also contributing to it. Youth create among themselves

languages, ways of dressing, ways of behaving and relating to one another. Sometimes these things can be completely contained in the youth culture and sometimes they creep into adult culture. If I woke up an 11 year old tomorrow, I'd probably be as much at a loss in a sixth grade classroom (although I'm sure fractions would come back to me) as I would if I woke up in Bangladesh.

All this is to say that the challenge of changing the norms around smoking beedies is even greater than changing the norms around other cigarettes. It's not about the amount of advertising placed below three feet in a store, evidently beedies has it's own free advertising among the youth themselves. And what the youth don't do for beedies, beedies does for itself, with no expensive go-between. Instead of using bright and colorful ads like other tobacco companies, beedies uses oddly-shaped colored packages like something from a carnival grab bag and flavors its tobacco like Bubble Yum flavors its gum, then wraps it in a very "natural looking" leaf. On a local level, attacking beedies on the advertising front would not reduce its recognition among the youth, but perhaps reducing youth access would. So far, the youth purchase rate for beedies is higher than for other cigarettes and beedies are less expensive than other cigarettes. I found that when I or a youth expressed interest in beedies, merchants were willing to "cut a deal" and sell them for a lower price. Perhaps there is so much misinformation about beedies, and youth culture has so influenced merchants, that even the merchants think beedies are less harmful than other cigarettes, and in any case, not as "bad" as other cigarettes.


tobac_up.gif (146 bytes)    New Participants

A warm welcome to our three new advocates: Derrick Washington of Denman Middle School, Charles Johnson of Ben Franklin Middle School, and Jeffrie Adams of Potrero Hill Middle School. Our enthusiastic new advocates responded to our advertisement for Intern positions, interviewed with us and attended the first meeting on Friday, February 27th. Check out their profiles:

Jeffrie Adams, age 13, likes Billy Holiday because she sings about her life and Merton Hanks because he's the best safety in the NFL. If someone he knew smoked he wouldn't try to change them, but he would tell the person the negative effects of cigarette smoke.

Charles Johnson, age 14, likes U.N.L.V.'s basketball team and his favorite athlete is Emmitt Smith. He considers cigarette smoking a waste of a lot of money.

Derrick Washington, age 14, likes the rapper Master P. because he has his own style and Allen Iverson is his favorite athlete. Derrick is interested in learning why tobacco is so addictive and the ways which make it easier for a person to quit.

What's in store for our new participants? Lots. We're glad to have new advocaWtes and interns on board so that we can get our Global Framework plans underway. The SFAATFP is going forward with research on beedies cigarettes. We hope to have new participants on the Internet very soon so they can find out more about beedies and India.



SF African American Tobacco Free Project
Carol McGruder, Project Director
390 4th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Phone: (415) 777-3229
FAX: (415) 512-9625


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The San Francisco African American Tobacco Free Project grew out of concern that African Americans die from smoking related illnesses at a higher rate than other Americans.  We wanted to do something to change this grim statistic on a local level.  Our project coordinators are Carol McGruder and Lisa Manning.

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Our vision is to change the norms around tobacco use among African Americans.  Our project consists of adults and youth working together on three main goals:   advocating to change laws that regulate the Tobacco Industry, increasing awareness of the Tobacco Industry's tactics in the African American community, and outreach to youth to prevent early tobacco use.

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We conduct merchant surveys and media campaigns.  We dialogue with merchants and policy makers.  We sponser and co-sponser community and educational events.
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