Press Release | Sacramento: A City Without Tobacco

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – On Tuesday, November 7 at 9:30 AM, Saving Our Legacy, African Americans for Smoke Free Safe Places – SOL Project will host a press conference with tobacco prevention partners and advocates to educate the public on the progress we have made within tobacco prevention, why tobacco is still an issue and the shift towards the tobacco endgame. Sacramento City Council Tobacco Prevention Champion Vice Mayor Eric Guerra is also scheduled to speak about why he supports best practices in tobacco prevention and why his colleagues should take bold steps in consideration of protecting the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, youth, and all residents by shifting towards tobacco endgame solutions.

What: Press conference to educate advocates and decision-makers on the shift towards tobacco endgame solutions.

When: Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at 9:30 AM PT

Where: City Hall Council Chambers – 915 I Street, 1st Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814

Why: By making the choice to be truly tobacco-free, we are creating a better future for ourselves and our community.

Sacramento has made progress towards the tobacco endgame by prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products, creating buffer zones around schools, and requiring retailers to be licensed to sell tobacco in the city. With tobacco endgame policy pathways, Sacramento can create a healthier environment for its residents, free from the harmful effects of tobacco.

Speakers will include:

Twlia Laster, Project Director – Saving Our Legacy, African Americans for Smoke Free Safe Places – The SOL Project

Twlia Laster has been working in tobacco control specifically serving African American and African Immigrant populations since 1996. Her experience includes administration, grant coordination, program development, management, cessation and focus group facilitation, materials development, event management, public relations, and public policy work. She is one of a few tobacco control advocates who has consistently worked on each African American priority population contract funded by the California Tobacco Prevention Program (CTPP) competitive grant programs since inception. Ms. Laster also serves as Co-Chair of the Equity and Diversity Subcommittee for the Greater Sacramento Smoke and Tobacco Free Coalition (GSSTFC) and is a founding member of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC).

Ruth E. Malone, RN, PhD Professor of Nursing and Health Policy, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco –

Dr. Ruth Malone is known nationally and internationally for her research and analysis on the tobacco industry’s strategic efforts to counter public health and how tobacco policy problems are not being understood socially as actionable. Her team published the first analytic review of the endgame literature and recently published a paper laying out the arguments for phasing out sales of cigarettes that has provided support for emerging national and international advocacy in this area. In previous studies, Dr. Malone explored the tobacco industry’s targeting of various groups and their responses to such targeting, how ‘corporate social responsibility’ efforts from tobacco companies are perceived, how businesses decide to abandon tobacco sales, and tobacco control policy within the US military.

Marissa Bashore, Coalition and Policy Taskforce Chairperson – Greater Sacramento Smoke and Tobacco Free Coalition (GSSTFC)

Marissa Bashore (Greenband), MPH, CHES is the Chairperson of the Greater Sacramento Smoke and Tobacco Free Coalition and Chairperson to the Policy Taskforce of the Coalition. She formerly served as the Tobacco Control Programs Director at Breathe California Sacramento Region. Before working at Breathe, Marissa was the UC Smoke and Tobacco Free Presidential Fellow at UC Davis, where she received her Master of Public Health degree in Spring 2018. She also has a background in exercise science and health promotion through her Kinesiology degree from Cal Poly SLO. Marissa currently works at UC Davis Health as the Supervisor to the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center (for identification purposes only).

Eric Guerra, Vice Mayor – District 6, Sacramento City Councilmember

Councilman Eric Guerra was elected to represent Sacramento City Council District 6 in April 2015 and was reelected in 2016. District 6 encompasses Campus Commons and Sierra Oaks in the North, between Stockton Boulevard and Watt Avenue, including the areas of Tahoe Park and Little Saigon. Councilman Guerra is a proud Sacramento State Hornet. He graduated in 2003 with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. In 2008 he earned his Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration. Councilman Guerra is focused on improving the quality of life in our neighborhoods through protecting our parks, revitalizing Stockton Boulevard, develop the Sacramento Center of Innovation (SCI), and bring more commerce to the Power Inn Corridor.

Carol McGruder, Co-Chair – African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC) –

Carol McGruder is a seasoned veteran of California’s tobacco prevention experience. Carol is a senior project director, activist, researcher, and writer. She has worked in tobacco prevention since 1994. She is experienced in the fields of public policy, social marketing, media advocacy, global tobacco control, health education, community capacity/power building, and leadership development. She is a proud co-founding member and Co-Chairperson of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC). Carol and the AATCLC have received honors and accolades from many organizations including the Public Health Law Center, SRNT, American Legacy Foundation, and the San Francisco and Berkeley Branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She served as

NAACP Branch President for Berkeley, CA for two terms. She received the prestigious Biddy Mason “unsung shero” award in 2021.

 Carol Maytum, Project Director- Action on Smoking and Health – Advancing Momentum for a Tobacco Free California –

Carol Maytum is the Project Director for Action on Smoking and Health’s Advancing Momentum for a Tobacco Free California project. Carol has 30 years of experience working in the public health arena and 14 years of experience in tobacco control policy and research. Carol was instrumental in passing a comprehensive Smoke, Tobacco, and Vape-Free policy for the Los Rios Community College District, the second largest community college district in California. She currently serves as a Tobacco Endgame expert for initiatives in California. Carol obtained her Bachelor of Science at Arizona State University and her Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles

Kimberly Bankston Lee, Sr. Program Director – Saving Our Legacy, African Americans for Smoke Free Safe Places – The SOL Project –

Ms. Bankston-Lee has been working in tobacco control since 1996, planning, developing, and implementing tobacco control programs for non-profits, county government and health care services. Kimberly has worked with restaurateurs, the rental housing industry, community colleges, trade schools, and government agencies to adopt smoke-free policies and ordinances. She has developed numerous educational materials and campaigns such as policy tool kits, guides for adopting smoke-free policies, pamphlets, brochures and post cards on various tobacco issues and products; and TV, radio, and social media campaigns to increase awareness about the dangers of secondhand smoke, nonsmokers’ rights, and support for smoke-free outdoor policies. She currently serves as the Historian of the Greater Sacramento Smoke & Tobacco Free Coalition and is a member of the Policy Task Force, Cessation Task Force and Executive Committee. Ms. Bankston-Lee has previously served as Chair, Co-Chair, and several of its committees, including the Policy Task Force, Secondhand Smoke Subcommittee, and Youth/Young Adult Subcommittee for the GSSTFC.

Journey Rucker Youth Spoken Word Artist, The Poet Life –

Journey Rucker is a sophomore at Montclair High School who has embarked on an inspiring journey that weaves her passion for poetry and her dedication to advocating for Tobacco Control through her involvement with The Poet Life. Journey’s transformative experience began with her participation in a poetry workshop that not only honed her poetic talents but also educated her about the vital subject of tobacco control. This workshop served as the catalyst for her involvement in The Poet Life, where she combined her artistic prowess with her commitment to this crucial cause. Ms. Rucker is not only a gifted poet but also a multi-talented artist. Her artistic journey has seen her explore various forms of creative expression, including dance, musical theatre, and traditional art mediums like painting, paper and pencil, and digital art. Nevertheless, her most recent and cherished endeavor is poetry, a practice she finds both tranquil and deeply fulfilling. Journey’s dedication to tobacco control and her burgeoning poetic talent led her to a remarkable achievement. She proudly took the stage at the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids showcase, where she delivered a captivating performance that resonated with the audience and further highlighted the urgency of the cause. Her journey continues to inspire and make a meaningful impact on her community.