“It is essentially easier to find a cherry-flavored tobacco product in Plumas County than it is to find an actual bag of cherries,” stated a report by Public Health Education Coordinator Dana Cash in a March 2017 report surveying unhealthy options in Plumas County stores.
This March, Plumas County Public Health will be collecting data again — two years later — to see what improvements and pitfalls in healthy lifestyles are demonstrated in Plumas County stores.
In the last finding, 83 percent of Plumas County stores sold tobacco related products, but only 47 percent sold fresh fruits or vegetables.
“Stores play a critical role on our community’s health, and this survey shows offerings and messaging are out of balance, tipping heavily toward unhealthy options. Our goal is to help re-calibrate the balance toward health,” said Cash.
During the 20,000 Lives quarterly meeting Wednesday, Jan. 16, James Wilson and Melodie Bennett presented on the Public Health department launching its third data collection on healthy stores in Plumas County. Other data collections happened in 2017 and 2015.
The information will be used to compare the direction in which the county is going on key issues of tobacco and alcohol use and availability, nutrition and sugar purchases and availability, as well as condom availability.
The data will be collected in February and Wilson noted he hoped to have volunteers to collect data on the placement and advertisement of healthy versus unhealthy choices in stores around Plumas County.
The data from the 2017 collection shows a few concerning trends in Plumas County versus the averages in the rest of the state.
The use of tobacco products by youth is nearly a quarter of the youth population in Plumas County versus 14 percent in the state. The adult statistic nearly matches that as well. The percentage of pharmacies that also sell tobacco products is much higher (by almost 20 percent) that the rest of the state.
Likewise the use of alcohol by those under 18 and the amount of binge drinking is higher in Plumas County than the state average.
This data and more can be found at the countyofplumas.com website.