Tobacco Free Lancaster County

December 2020 Newsletter

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2020: Challenging but Successful

2020 has been a challenging year in more ways than one. While many of the TFLC's plans had to change, we are still excited by how much we were able to accomplish this year! During the last half of 2020, TFLC was able to continue reaching the community with tobacco and e-cigarette prevention and education. TFLC participated in this year's virtual Streets Alive event, hosted by the Partnership for a Healthy Lincoln, as well as the Asian Community and Cultural Center's Harvest Moon Festival. These events reached over 4,400 community members. Other highlights of fall and winter 2020 included hosting our first city-wide Great American Smokeout event- #GASOLNK, completing five tobacco compliance checks with LPD and LSO, and partnering with the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

TFLC would like to thank all of our members and partners who made 2020 amazing! We could not have done it without you all and we look forward to an even better 2021!

TFLC Hosted First City-Wide Great American Smokeout Event #GASOLNK

2020 has brought many unique challenges for businesses, yet 17 businesses across Lincoln joined #GASOLNK in an effort to encourage their employees and the community to quit tobacco. Tobacco Free Lancaster County, along with business leaders in the community, created the #GASOLNK Resource Guide to offer easy-to-share resources, encouraging messages, and virtual activities to support tobacco quit attempts across Lincoln.


As we know, businesses and organizations that have strong tobacco-free policies, which include cessation support for their employees, are one of the best ways to reduce tobacco use in our community. TFLC is proud to announce that Speedway Motors was chosen as the 2020 #GASOLNK Tobacco-Free Business Champion. Not only has Speedway Motors been a tobacco-free campus for 15 years, they also demonstrate a commitment to supporting and encouraging quit attempts with tobacco cessation classes, resources and tools, and making sure to check in with employees that they know are on the tobacco-free journey.


TFLC's Business/School Task Force plans to continue celebrating our Tobacco-Free Business Champions throughout the year with quarterly champions and is already planning for next year's #GASOLNK event!

November is Native American Heritage Month: See how TFLC is Partnering with the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska

The Ponca Tribe of Nebraska has been assisting TFLC in reaching members of the Native American community in Lancaster County. One of the key messages from the PTN is that commercial tobacco use is not part of Native American tradition. They urge the community to keep tobacco sacred and to quit commercial tobacco.

2020 Tobacco and E-cigarette Retailer Compliance Checks

LLCHD continues to work with the LPD and LSO to conduct compliance checks of tobacco and e-cigarette retailers using youth volunteers 16-20 years old. Staff were able to complete seven compliance checks this year, despite spring cancellations due to COVID-19. Six checks were completed in Lincoln and one in Lancaster County. Our program goal is to achieve 90% or higher compliance with the law.


LPD and LLCHD partnered to conduct 298 compliance checks at retailers across the city. The checks resulted in 22 sales to minors for a non-compliance rate of 7.4%, which is up from 5% last year. Sales to minors included sixteen tobacco products and six vapor products. The overall vapor product non-compliance rate jumped to 12.2% this year, a significant increase compared to 2019 (7.5%). However, staff remains positive as total retailer compliance did remain over the goal of 90% (92.6% compliance overall). Possible reasons for the decrease in overall compliance in 2020 include the break in checks due to COVID-19 and the wearing of masks by volunteers. The total number of checks remained the same and the difference in compliance rates was determined to be statistically significant, discounting potential claims by retailers that the yearly change is due to chance.


In Lancaster County, 23 tobacco compliance checks occurred. The checks resulted in two sales to minors, one of cigarettes and one e-cigarette. The non-compliance rate was 8.7%, (91.3% compliance), which is significantly higher than the 2019 rate of 2.94% (97.1% compliance). Possible reasons for the shift in compliance rates are the lower number of total checks performed in 2020, 23 checks versus 38 in 2019. Other potential causes for increased non-compliance were the wearing of masks by volunteers and the large gap between checks do to COVID-19.

TFLC Launches Communications Task Force

In September, TFLC launched a new task force dedicated to supporting education and outreach efforts for TFLC and it's existing task forces. The new task force is called the Communications Task Force. The group consists of volunteers, partner organizations, and media experts from Tobacco Free Nebraska and Lincoln City Communications. The goal of the new task force is to support overall media and communication efforts for the coalition. The group's first project is creating a series of short promotional videos sharing why members are part of the TLFC coalition. These will be shared on the TFLC website, social media pages, and used for virtual events throughout the year.

If you are interested in joining, please email info@tobaccofreelancastercounty.org for more information.

Smoke-free Multiunit Housing Webinar

TFLC is partnering with Tobacco Free Nebraska, the Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, and the Lincoln Housing Authority to hold a series of three brief webinars sharing the benefits of implementing voluntary smoke-free policies in multiunit housing settings. Our panel of experts will present on the basics and benefits of smoke-free policies in week one, share how to implement and expand policies in week 2, and end our series with tips on how to effectively enforce policies in week 3. Plus, there's time scheduled to answer questions each week, too! It's a free series specifically for property managers and owners, so encourage those that would benefit to register now!

TFLC Quarterly Meeting

Tuesday, Jan. 12th 2021 at 9-11am

This is an online event.

Join us for the first 2021 TFLC Quarterly meeting from 9-10:30 am on January 12, 2021 via Zoom. Link to be provided via email. For additional information, email info@tobaccofreelancastercounty.org

RSVPs are enabled for this event.