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New Ad Campaign Alerts Santa Clara County Residents to the Dangers of Secondhand Smoke

Initiative Seeks to Change Minds and Policies

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF –The Santa Clara County Public Health Department unveiled a new ad campaign today to draw attention to the dangers of secondhand smoke. At the core of the campaign is a powerful television commercial airing in English, Spanish and Vietnamese that graphically depicts the impact of secondhand smoke on children. The spot dramatizes the hazards faced by all nonsmokers exposed to others’ tobacco smoke.

“Secondhand smoke is far more dangerous than most people think and contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, including more than fifty that cause cancer,” says Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, Health Officer for Santa Clara County. “In California each year, an estimated 3,600 non-smokers who live with smokers die from heart disease and approximately 400 die from lung cancer.”

The ad campaign is part of Santa Clara County’s INSPIRE Tobacco Prevention initiative, a comprehensive effort to prevent young people from smoking, help smokers quit, and reduce everyone’s exposure to secondhand smoke. The two-year effort brings together schools, healthcare facilities and community organizations to change environments and policies that affect tobacco use. The project is funded by a “Communities Putting Prevention to Work” grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Santa Clara County is one of only fifty communities in the nation and one of three counties in California to receive these American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

The television commercial will air on the Comcast cable network in Santa Clara County, the Spanish-language broadcast networks Univision and Telemundo, and several Vietnamese TV outlets from late April through July 2011. Full-page print ads will be featured in Santa Clara County newspapers, and outreach materials will be distributed at community events. More information on the campaign can be found at the website,

The INSPIRE initiative is guided by a sixteen-member Leadership Team that includes representatives from government, business, labor, healthcare and community groups.

“The residents of this county deserve the right to be protected from secondhand smoke,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Ken Yeager, Vice Chair of the Board’s Health and Hospital Committee and Member of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Leadership Team. “I hope this ad campaign will make smokers aware of the harm they cause to their neighbors.”

Yeager recently sponsored model legislation that expanded restrictions on smoking in workplaces, parks, and multi-unit housing in unincorporated areas of the county.

Media Contacts: Gwen Mitchell/Laurel Anderson, Office of Public Affairs (408) 299-5119; Marta Lugo, SCC Public Health Department (408)792-5107
Posted: April 26, 2011