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Residents the San Joaquin Valley region are significantly more likely to use tobacco and other drugs, and to experience tobacco-and drug-related illness - yet limited health and health policy data on the region actually exists. This needs to change.

Central California and specifically the San Joaquin Valley (SJV) and mountains have largely been overlooked and underserved

  • NCPC UC MercedThe SJV contains many ethnically diverse and underserved groups with numerous health problems, including tobacco-related diseases and yet very little data on the region exists.
  • Those in the SJV region are significantly more likely to use tobacco and other drugs, and to experience tobacco- and drug-related illness
  • Little information on the extent to which SJV residents are aware of, and support, existing tobacco and cannabis control policies, and how various advocacy and governmental groups are engaged in policy formation and enforcement.
  • More data on whether people support tobacco and cannabis policies will help better direct when policy formation might be advantageous, where lapses in enforcement occur, and how tobacco control measures might best be communicated to the public.
  • The SJV has also been prone to non-regional investigators who have attempted to conduct research in the area, only for those efforts to be short-lived, without long-lasting benefits.

Tobacco Control has historically been difficult in the San Joaquin Valley and mountains

  • NCPC UC MercedA severe lack of infrastructure, uneven policy enforcement, and lack of understanding of, or support for, policy among the population has created lapses in tobacco and cannabis control effectiveness.
  • SJV localities have not effectively implemented regulations around emerging tobacco control issues, including regulations of nicotine products such as e-cigarettes.
  • The American Lung Association consistently grades SJV counties as failing (F) on tobacco control indices. In 2018, every county in the SJV received an F grade, with the exception of a few cities receiving D’s
  • Legalization of marijuana also poses a significant policy enforcement problem in the heavily agricultural area, where cannabis is perceived as a potential cash crop.

NCPC Research Will Look To Redress the Balance

The project will address two main gaps in tobacco and cannabis control efforts in the region:

1) The lack of data on public knowledge, support, and adherence to policies

2) Under-utilization of youth advocacy in tobacco and cannabis control in the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding mountains