Pastor Darryl Jackson recently declared his Ontario church a smoke-free campus.
Father Steven Shepard sends out daily electronic messages reminding his San Bernardino-based congregation of the link to smoking and lung disease and now complications including death from COVID-19 .
Finally, Vincent McCoy, project director of Inland Empire Smoke Out, says that truth is sometimes not enough in a world where people ignore science or are distracted from the truth by political arguments and Marketing of Big Tobacco.
Despite conducting focus groups with frustrated custodians of young people vaping, training influencers to spread the no-smoking message and meeting face-to-face with elected officials campaign to help them cut down on a lot of smoking shops and low costs Organizers say the effort to eradicate tobacco from blacks, Latinos and other minority communities has not been easy.
Truth is not enough
“Yes, it was an uphill battle over five years with $1.5 million in funding from the California Department of Health for education,” said McCoy, vice president of the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce. about the health dangers of tobacco use.
So far, the program has hosted four focus groups in 2021, many of which are virtual; conducted a survey on smoking attitudes from 370 respondents; hold five talks with elected officials; and convince five churches to become “smoke-free grounds,” McCoy said Jan.
IE Smoke Out is targeting minorities in Riverside, Ontario, Perris, San Bernardino and Imperial County. On January 12, it will host its first meeting with officials from the Moreno Valley in partnership with the Riverside University Health System, McCoy said.
Although decades of studies have clearly shown that smoking causes lung cancer and emphysema and increases the risk of heart disease, that message has not always been well received, McCoy said.
“For some people, smoking is bad for your health is still up for debate,” he said.
The no-smoking message is sometimes dismissed, Jackson said, even after preaching on a biblical tenet that Christians should treat their bodies as temples of God.
“A good friend of mine smoked. He always smoked Newports (a brand of menthol favored by black smokers). He told me ‘I’m fine. I exercise.’ Now he has lung disease,” Jackson said.
When IE Smoke Out instituted government programs to help smokers quit or urged elected officials to quit cheap cigarettes, it was called “couponing”, and reduced the number of drug stores leaves and vaping materials, there will be feedback.
Some smokers or vapers say such efforts will increase the cost of tobacco products or cause them to drive longer distances to buy tobacco products, McCoy said. Surveys show that higher earners say they don’t know smokers and therefore don’t see it as a problem, he added.
Some elected officials, he said, approached the meeting saying they were not in favor of government intervention but freedom of choice.
“County officials often start saying, ‘I’m a libertarian.’ That’s all they caught. That said I won’t touch the issue,” McCoy said.
But with smoking rates dropping to 10.4% of the population in California, quitting smoking has progressed to include bans at public buildings, restaurants and airplanes to curb secondhand smoke. in residential communities. McCoy said the last 10 percent of smokers to quit smoking are very difficult.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” he added.
Smoking and COVID-19
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, new studies show that smoking increases susceptibility to respiratory infections and weakens the immune system, making it more an underlying health condition that increases the risk of disease.
A UC San Francisco study of 11,500 COVID-19 patients found that of 731 patients with a history of smoking, nearly 30% saw disease progression and worsening symptoms, compared with 17% of patients who did not. smoke. The study concluded that patients who were former or former smokers had more severe symptoms or died.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes: “Current or former smoker may make you more susceptible to severe illness from COVID-19.
“This primarily affects Black, Brown and low-income communities,” said Shepard, pastor of Saint Paul AME Church in San Bernardino. “It’s important that we address anything that might impede or hinder our recovery from COVID-19.”
While Black residents represent 13% of the population, they account for 23% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States, according to a CDC report. Differences in death rates by ethnicity vary from state to state. The mortality rate in Black patients reported at the end of 2020 was 5 times higher than in Caucasians in some age groups.
Steam and stress
Jackson, pastor of Love Chapel Life Change Ministries in Ontario, said tobacco companies push menthol cigarettes while encouraging smoking and vaping in the Black community.
“Liquor stores in African-American communities are where you see ads in the windows for tobacco or malt liquor, instead of milk,” he said. “Also, they put it right at the checkout counter, so it’s very convenient; it’s right there. ”
The elders told him that they started smoking because it was seductive, as seen in the movie. Young people use vape tubes, electronic tubes, or vape pens with oil or tobacco to vape, where a stream of heated smoke is drawn into the lungs. Often they are marketed in flavors like vanilla and bubble gum to make it taste sweet.
In his day job, Jackson is a safety intervention officer for the Rialto Unified School District. On average, he confiscates 15 vapes from students each week, he said.
“It’s sad because it can cause the same health problems (like smoking),” he said. Inhaling aerosols from e-cigarettes reduces a person’s ability to react to an infection, reports the National Institute on Drug Abuse. NIDA estimates 1 in 5 high school students vape.
In focus groups and at the recent Escape The Vape event in Riverside, the reason young people said they used vaping was because their friends did and to relieve stress, Jackson said.
“While most say it’s peer pressure, a large majority say it relaxes them and helps them focus,” says Jackson.
“I tell them that you can do other things to relax without affecting your health. Like you can listen to music, or play sports. I wanted to ask about their hobbies and I said they were pretty relaxing hobbies. The majority would say ‘yes’, he said.
Along the road
Unfortunately, in a recent virtual IE Smoke Out forum, many parents said they didn’t know much about vaping. However, one mother who adopted the children said they did it because her grandson used steam and they used his pipe and vaping oil, Jackson recalls.
He said encouraging parents to simply be aware, let alone enforce a tobacco-free policy in the family or practice better health is sometimes the issue the program is all about.
“It will take a long time. That’s why I think vapes and cigarettes should be banned. That would be the fastest way to rid our community of it,” Jackson said. “But then you get people saying it’s my freedom of choice.”
https://www.sbsun.com/2022/01/10/inland-empire-smoke-out-preaches-no-smoking-to-minority-communities/ Inland Empire Smoke Out promotes smoking ban for minority communities – San Bernardino Sun