File Name: THE SALE OF CANDY-FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS
Agenda Date: 5/1/2012
Agenda Item Number: 1E1
PRESENTATION BY SWAT (STUDENT WORKING AGAINST TOBACCO) REGARDING THE SALE OF CANDY-FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS
Sally A. Heyman, Prime Sponsor
Board of County Commissioners
Dr. Javier Berezdivin, Chair of the Tobacco-free work group in Miami-Dade County, 780 NE 69th Street, Miami, appeared before the Board noting the issue of candy-flavored tobacco was an extremely important one for the Board to consider. He distributed to the Board members a brochure that was produced by the Health Department. He informed the Board members that he was accompanied by some students, and asked them to come forward to address the Board.
Francisco Ira (phonetic spelling), Junior at the Miami Killian Senior High School, appeared before the Board noting candy-flavored tobacco lured in students by disguising the harmful effects of tobacco, but in the end, it poisoned young people. He asked the members of the Board to pass an ordinance banning the sale of candy-flavored tobacco.
Brenda Ezra (phonetic spelling), Senior at the Miami Killian Senior High School, President of the SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) Club, appeared before the Board and reported that candy-flavored tobacco looked exactly like regular candy. She stated that students were chewing this tobacco in their classrooms without their teachers’ knowledge. She pointed out that this affected all students, and the majority started using this product under the age of 18. She urged the Board members to pass an ordinance banning the sale of candy-flavored tobacco.
Britney Sirus (phonetic spelling), Junior at the Miami Killian Senior High school, appeared before the Board to urge the members to ban candy-flavored tobacco. She pointed out that even though older students chewed this tobacco, their younger siblings might be tempted to also use it. She urged the Board members to pass legislation banning this product.
Ms. Karen Rivo (phonetic spelling), Registered Nurse and member of the Tobacco-free work group, appeared before the Board and reported that the work group had taken this issue to the City of Miami Beach, and the City of South Miami. As a result, both municipalities had passed legislation encouraging retailers to ban the sale of candy-flavored tobacco. She urged the Board members to seriously consider this issue, because candy-flavored tobacco was the best way for tobacco companies to addict young people in this community. She stressed that smoking was one of the lead preventable causes of death in this country.
Upon conclusion of the citizens’ presentation, Chairman Martinez opened the Floor for questions or comments, and inquired whether the laws that applied to the sale of tobacco were also applicable to the sale of candy-flavored tobacco.
Dr. Javier Berezdivin, replied that the sale of candy-flavored tobacco was not included in the act that President Obama signed in June 2009. He urged Board members to take a leadership role on this important issue. He pointed out that 400,000 people died every year as a result of using tobacco, and stressed that it was our collective responsibility to protect our children from this deadly product.
Commissioner Diaz congratulated Commissioner Heyman for inviting Dr. Berezdivin to the meeting. He noted recently the Board passed legislation banning the sale of candy-flavored marijuana. He concurred that the industry was enticing children with these products, and was making million of dollars from the suffering of young people.
Commissioner Heyman stated that since being contacted by Dr. Berezdivin on this issue she visited a number of High Schools and Middle Schools in her district, and noticed how prevalent the use of candy-flavored tobacco was. She pointed out that the industry used regular candy wrapping for this product, which was displayed publicly. She noted one of her colleagues had already sponsored legislation on this matter, and expressed the desire to be a co-sponsor on the proposed legislation. She asked the County Attorneys to draft a resolution urging the Florida legislature to ban the sale of candy-flavored tobacco statewide.
Commissioner Jordan noted she had already asked the County Attorneys to draft an ordinance banning the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products. She welcomed Commissioner Heyman as a co-prime sponsor, and expressed an interest in being a co-prime sponsor for the urging. She stressed the importance of obtaining the Youth Commission’s involvement on this issue, and urged the SWAT members to contact that body.
Dr. Berezdivin informed Commissioner Jordan that the SWAT members had already scheduled a meeting with the members of the Youth Commission on this issue.
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