Tobacco Prevention Program
Free Help to Quit Tobacco
If you want support quitting smoking, vaping, chewing, or using any form of tobacco, free help is available!
----> Free local services from Public Health include:
Oral Hygiene Quit KitsKits to support oral health while quitting tobacco include items to reinforce alternative behaviors to using tobacco, support oral hygiene, and motivation/tips to quit. For a free kit, visit the Public Health Department during business hours, or call (209) 533-6862.
Quit Smoking/Vaping Classes Group support to help you quit smoking, vaping or using tobacco using evidence-based curriculum. Offerings vary - please call for more information: (209) 533-6862.
----> Free Kick It CA services include:
Telephone Counseling | 📞 1-800-300-8086 (ENG) | 1-800-600-8191 (ESP)
Website | 🌐 https://www.kickitca.org
Online Chat | 💬 http://kickitca.org/chat
Social Media@kickitca on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & YouTube
All Kick It CA services are available in English and Spanish. Many services are also available in Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, and Vietnamese.
Respecting Culture -
Keeping Tobacco Sacred
Tribal communities have been using traditional or sacred tobacco for thousands of years. Traditional or sacred tobacco differs from commercial tobacco in that Indigenous people use it to connect with Creator, Mother Earth, and one another.
Traditional or sacred tobacco is grown, dried, and has no additives. Native American elders teach that tobacco was one of the 4 sacred medicines (Tobacco, Cedar, Sage and Sweetgrass), which was given by the Creator to the first peoples of this land.
Commercial tobacco products are not the same thing as traditional or sacred tobacco. Commercial tobacco is filled with chemicals and additives that not only make it highly addictive, but also extremely harmful to human health. Commercial tobacco is full of carcinogens and synthetic chemicals that are lethal and destroy the integrity of the sacred medicine and its purpose to heal and connect.
Commercial tobacco is never used in ceremonies or for offerings, and many Indigenous elders maintain that the use of commercial tobacco is disrespectful to its spiritual and sacred value altogether.
Historically in some Tribal community’s dry tobacco was placed at the base of a tree or shrub where traditional medicine was gathered, and a pinch was thrown in the water before each day of harvesting or fishing to assure calm weather and a bountiful harvest. Before setting out in a canoe, a safe return was assured by offering tobacco on the water. On journeys or hunts, Native men paused for reflection or thought and left a pinch of tobacco as an offering when they encountered certain features of the landscape, including waterfalls, misshapen trees, oddly shaped rocks, and lakes or islands said to harbor spirits. When storms approached, families protected themselves by placing a small amount of tobacco on a nearby rock or stump. Tobacco was placed at grave sites as an offering to the departed spirit. Requests to elders to relate oral traditions or other special knowledge were accompanied with a gift of tobacco.
Traditional or Sacred Tobacco Purposes
- Prayer, reflection and giving thanks to the Creator or Mother Earth.
- Purifying and healing the body and mind.
- Providing spiritual strength, guidance, development, and protection.
- Learning discipline and becoming a better person.
- Learning respect for the Creator and for all creation.
- To use as a medicine for a person’s health and well-being.
- Use in combination with other natural plants and herbs to treat illness.
- A symbol of respect at gatherings or meetings.
- Relationship building and knowledge exchange between individuals.
- Can be given as a gift to an elder (This is a symbol of gratitude, respect, and the elder’s commitment to help you, often with prayers and spiritual guidance.)
Usage of Traditional or Sacred Tobacco
- Holding tobacco in the left hand and offering it to the Creator; self, family, and community; earth, sky, fire, and water; four-legged, winged, crawlers, swimmers and all the animals.
- Sacred pipe ceremonies in which traditional tobacco is not inhaled, though not all sacred pipe ceremonies use tobacco.
- Not all Tribal Nations use traditional or sacred tobacco. Some use a unique blend of local herbs and medicines for their own ceremonial practices instead.
Dangers of Commercial Tobacco
Commercial tobacco products are a major public health concern, killing more than 40,000 Californians annually. Commercial tobacco products include cigarettes, nicotine vapes/e-cigarettes, chew, dip, snus, snuff, nicotine pouches, and any other form of for-profit product that contains nicotine (including synthetic nicotine). Find more information at the resources below.
Working to undo the tobacco industry’s damage and restore every Californian’s right to health and wellness. https://www.undo.org/
Protecting kids from the dangers of vaping. https://www.flavorshookkids.org/
Annual report on tobacco use statistics in California. California Facts & Figures 2021
About: Tobacco Prevention Program
The Tuolumne County Public Health Tobacco Prevention Program is funded by the California Tobacco Prevention Program with funding from CA Propositions 56 and 99. The program works to help county residents kick commercial tobacco out of their lives and out of their community’s shared spaces. Staff aim to reduce health disparities and prevent tobacco use by educating the public, serving as an active part of the local community, and providing technical assistance to businesses and organizations.
The program offers the following services, all free of charge:
- Community Education: Staff are available to present to community groups, parents, youth groups, etc., on the impacts of tobacco, the youth vaping epidemic, cessation resources, or related topics as needed. The program is also available to attend and share educational materials at community events, schedule permitting.
- Educational Materials: Printed materials are available for individuals or organizations free of charge, and educational displays, models, and other items available on loan to local schools or organizations.
- EPIC Youth Coalition: EPIC is a multi-agency coalition open to all high-school age youth in Tuolumne County. EPIC works to support and train youth to Empower their Peers and Inspire their Community. For more information or to sign up, visit the EPIC webpage or text/call (209) 768-5647. The 2023-2024 enrollment packet is available here: EPIC Enrollment Packet_23-24
- Information on Tobacco Laws: Questions or concerns about any tobacco control laws can be directed to the program.
The program also collects local data, assesses needs, and conducts many other activities in support or tobacco prevention and education. To contact the program about any services, call 209-533-6862 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.