An estimated 4,000 people each year in California die from secondhand smoke, according to Santa Clara County Department of Public Health officials, who kicked off an ad campaign Tuesday to warn people about the dangers of secondhand smoke.
The campaign was announced at a news conference April 26 with county Supervisor Ken Yeager and Campbell Mayor Jason Baker, who said that as a father of two kids, he is especially concerned about the impact of secondhand smoke.
"Smoking stops being a personal choice when you expose others to secondhand smoke," Baker said.
According to Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, health officer for the county, in California an estimated 3,600 non-smokers who reside with smokers die from heart disease each year, and roughly 400 die from lung cancer.
The campaign is part of a wider two-year county initiative to bring together a coalition of schools, health care facilities and community organizations to prevent young people from smoking cigarettes, help smokers quit and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke.
Funding for the project was provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Santa Clara County was one of only three counties in the state to receive the "Communities Putting Prevention to Work" grant.
The campaign features a TV ad in English, Spanish and Vietnamese that shows how secondhand smoke cigarettes affects young children.
The commercial will air beginning this month through July on the Comcast cable network in Santa Clara County, the Spanish-language broadcast networks Univision and Telemundo, and several Vietnamese outlets. Full-page print ads will be featured in newspapers and outreach materials.
Yeager is part of a 16-member team that leads the county initiative, and he also serves as vice chair of the Board of Supervisors' Health and Hospital Committee.
Last year, Yeager and the board, approved ordinances that set restrictions on smoking cigarettes in workplaces, parks and multi-unit housing in unincorporated areas of the county.
One of the ordinances passed requires retailers that sell cigarettes in unincorporated areas to obtain and maintain an annual permit, limits the number of retail stores near schools, and bans the sale of flavored tobacco products.
Under the ordinance, new retail outlets will be prohibited from selling tobacco if they operate a pharmacy or are located within 1,000 feet of a school or within 500 feet of another tobacco retailer.
Many opponents of the ordinance have said the regulations are punitive and discriminatory toward small businesses.
The board also passed an ordinance that bans smoking cigarettes at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, outdoor shopping malls, all county parks, in hotels and motels, at retail stores that exclusively sell tobacco and smoking cigarettes products, and within 30 feet of any outdoor service area, such as a ticket line.
The third ordinance passed bans smoking cigarettes in duplexes, condo and townhouse complexes, and apartment buildings. The ordinance does permit setting up designated smoking cigarettes areas at least 30 feet away from doors and windows.