News and Events

Tobacco Retailers Near Schools Increase the Risk of Youth Tobacco Use
September 4, 2018

The new Dixie County High School opened for the 2018-19 school year.  The new School is located slightly out of town, right off state highway 19.  The new buildings include classrooms, offices and the new gym.  The Dixie County High School students are very excited to be the first class to start in the new school. 

With the opening of the new school, there are currently no tobacco retailers within a 1,000 feet of a Dixie County School.  The old Dixie County High School buildings were located in Cross City within 1,000 feet of three tobacco retailers.  One of those retailers was charged with selling smokeless tobacco and alcohol to a minor this summer. 

According to the 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, the tobacco and nicotine vaping use rate for youth in Dixie County is at 29.9%. Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability in the United States, resulting in the premature loss of over 480,000 lives and $289 billion in economic costs annually. The density of tobacco retailers near schools is associated with the tobacco use behaviors of the people who live or study in that neighborhood. One potential mechanism to explain this relationship is that students of high tobacco retailer density areas have greater physical access to tobacco products, and therefore reduced costs, which can increase consumption.  In addition, residents in areas with high retailer density are exposed to more branded advertisements for tobacco products at stores, which can stimulate demand and increase tobacco use.  The US tobacco companies collectively spend over $7 billion each year marketing and promoting tobacco products in retail stores. Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County Recognizes Cross City Nursing & Rehabilitation Center's Tobacco Free Policy
July 14, 2018

The Cross City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center held the first annual Family & Friends Day Extravaganza.  Cross City Nursing & Rehabilitation Center (CCNR) is committed to promoting health, wellness, prevention and treatment within the community.  CCNR serves as a model to the community by promoting good health and this event was another opportunity for the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County to also promote the Tobacco Free Policy passed by CCNR in 2017.

The Tobacco Free Partnership youth representative, Jordan Butler, and the Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Melanie Anderson, presented the CCNR with a plaque at the event to thank the administration of the center for continuing to support tobacco free policies in Dixie County. 

During the event, the Tobacco Free Partnership held a booth that highlighted the Tobacco Free Policy.  The policy defines tobacco as use of any cigarette, cigar, pipe, chewing, smokeless or other tobacco products, and electronic smoking devices (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems).  The policy includes individuals but not limited to, employees, medical staff, volunteers, students, contract workers, EMT staff, residents and visitors.  It prohibits the use of tobacco by CCNR employees, residents and visitors in, on all CCNR owned or leased buildings, grounds, parking lots, ramps, plazas, owned or leased vehicles and sidewalks adjacent to CCNR properties.  Upon request, cessation information and assistance is being provided to residents, employees, students, volunteers and medical staff. This policy has been shared with all employees, residents, and is for visitors viewing in the lobby. Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County Recognizes Local Librarian for Tobacco Prevention Efforts
June 12, 2018

The Dixie County Tobacco Free Partnership presented a plaque to Mrs. Cindy Bellot, the Dixie County Public Librarian for her support of the partnership and her commitment to a tobacco free Dixie County. 


Picture L to R: : Daniel Bennett (SWAT), Jordan Butler (SWAT),
Cindy Bellot, and Melanie Anderson (Tobacco Prevention Specialist for Dixie County)

On April 21, 2019, the Dixie County Public Library held the first every Suwannee Spring Art Festival at the Glen Dyals Park in Suwannee, Florida to raise money for the county libraries and to support local artist and authors. 

When planning for the event began, Mrs. Cindy wanted to contact the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County for their support of creating a tobacco free event.  The librarian wanted to make sure this event would be safe for kids and adults of all ages by signing a voluntary tobacco free event policy that restricts all tobacco use including Vaping during the event by vendors and visitors. 

For more information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County, contact Melanie Anderson at MAnderson@QuitDoc.com.

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Local Students Working Against Tobacco Members Attend Regional Training in Bradford County
June 09, 2018

On Saturday, June 9th, 2018 the Ruth Rains Middle School SWAT advisor, Mr. Richard Whittington and two SWAT youth, Mary and Alice, attended the Regional SWAT Meeting at the Montgomery Center in Starke, Florida. 

During the meeting, the Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) members presented the new SWAT Campaign, “Not a Lab Rat” that is a call to action to fight against E.N.D.S. (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System).  E.N.D.S. are also known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pin and e-hookah.  A new and very popular E.N.D.S. product, Juul contains the equivalent to a pack of cigarettes worth of nicotine.  Juul has such a high capacity of nicotine; there is a limit to how much you can buy in one month.

After presenting on the history of E.N.D.S. the flavors, health implications and marketing tactics, the YAB encouraged a Call to Action for SWAT by “Educating, Empowering and Enlisting” to counteract the growing use rate of E.N.D.S... Read More

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The 4th Annual Cross City Fly-in Continues its Tobacco-Free Policy
April 24, 2018

On April 24, 2018 the Dixie County Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County sponsored the 4th Annual Cross City Fly-in, Cruise-In & Business Expo at the Cross City Air Port as a Tobacco Free Event.  The Tobacco Free Partnership and Ruth Rains Middle School SWAT held a booth that promoted tobacco prevention and cessation. 

Even with a few incidents, this year brought about more compliance with the tobacco free policy which also lead to many of the air show goers feeling a comfort to share their quit stories.  While visiting the SWAT booth with his grandson, one man shared that he gave up smokeless tobacco after over 50 years of use, because his grandson asked him to quit.  Another man wanted to share with the SWAT youth that he quit smoking after his third heart attack.  These stories highlight the ongoing need for prevention and cessation in Dixie County.

There is still 2.5 million Floridians that still smoke.  The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County volunteered to promote “Quit You Way” program through Suwannee River AHEC materials.  They were able to tell many of the adult visitors about how Tobacco Free Florida helps Floridians quit for free! Read More

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Local Tobacco Free Partnership is Evaluating Local Point-of-Sale Tobacco Advertising, Compliance with Required Tobacco Signage
March 23, 2018

The TFP has been conducting an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) Assessment.  AVC’s are contracts between a company and one or more states. Companies agreed to restrictions and additions to their policies for the sale and marketing of tobacco products that may go beyond existing regulatory requirements on investigated retailers that were cited for continuing to sell tobacco products to minors in spite of state age restrictions. AVCs were developed to resolve those claims. Youth tobacco inspections played a key role in developing the AVCs. All of the AVCs include some restrictions on the retail environment and additional provisions may fill in gaps in the state’s tobacco laws.

Dixie County only has one tobacco retailer with an AVC but 10 different tobacco retailers were assessed using the AVC instrument by TFP and SWAT. The difference in the AVC retailer and the other non-AVC tobacco retailers were noticeable. The tobacco retailer with an AVC had a much better scoring on all of the compliance areas such as no tobacco signage outside the tobacco retail area, and all tobacco products were put behind the counter requiring clerk assisted purchases.  Many of the non-AVC tobacco retailers that are located within walking distance to the high school, that are more often visited by high school students, were assessed using the AVC Instrument. 


There was an obvious reduction in tobacco advertising in the store with an AVC contract (Left) when compared to stores without contracts (Right).

The results for these assessments were shared with the partnership members during the TFP meeting and the most upsetting non-compliant issues was that many of the tobacco retailers did not have signage at the doors or near the registers stating the age restriction for purchasing tobacco. Many of the youth conducting the assessments noted that many of the tobacco retailers did not have any age restriction signage for tobacco purchases, several had signage but they were not clearly visible and the others had signage but were almost crowded out by tobacco advertisements.  Read More

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Dixie County SWAT Students Celebrate Through With Chew Week
February 21, 2018

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use, the Tobacco Free Partnership and the Dixie County High School SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) hosted a Through with Chew Week Booth at the Dixie County High School on Wednesday, February 21, 2018, during both lunches.  All Students, staff and Administrators were encouraged to stop by learn more about smokeless tobacco. 

The SWAT youth decided that the students at Dixie County High School needed to learn more about the dangers of smokeless tobacco so they conducted a balloon pop that required the students to read smokeless tobacco facts over the sound system before they could pop the balloons.  Many of the students were amazed at the fact that smokeless tobacco contains 28 cancer-causing chemicals. Read More

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Cross City Nursing & Rehabilitation to Celebrate the annual Great American Smokeout
November 6, 2017

Cross City, Fla. – A local workplace is making big strides in supporting the health and well-being of their employees by adopting tobacco free workplaces. On Friday, November 17, 2017 the Cross City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center will be celebrating the health of their employees, residents and visitors on the National Tobacco Control Observance, the Great American Smoke-Out. 

Cross City Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center went tobacco free in October after providing free cessation resources to their employees and residents.  They’ve provided on-site classes for their employees, many of whom have successfully quit smoking.
The free Quit Your Way program allows employees to call, go online, or even attend face-to-face cessation classes, many of which have been hosted at their places of employment in order to support tobacco cessation efforts. Read More

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Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Attend Regional Meeting
October 21, 2017

On Saturday, October 21, 2017 Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Youth from across Region 2 met in Bradford County at the Charley E. Johns Conference Center for their annual regional meeting. There was a great turn out with over fifty students in attendance. Each county in Region 2 had two youth representing. Dixie County sent two students from Ruth Rains Middle School, Alice Whittington and Mary Whittington with the support of the Ruth Rains Middle School SWAT Advisor, Mr. Richard Whittington.

The Youth Advocacy Board members discussed a variety of tobacco related topics, some of which included “Taking Down Tobacco” and electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS). The meeting featured Sam Allen. Sam was a very engaging and inspirational speaker. He discussed a concept called “What’s your Why?” and “7 Things I would tell my 15-year-old self”. These concepts were presented and posed to get students define why they had the initiative to end tobacco. Sam encouraged students to understand and focus on why they are involved in local prevention efforts.

Read More

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Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Club Officers Attend the Dixie County Legislative Delegation
October 4, 2017

On October 4, 2017, Character Community SWAT club officers, Jiymeece Davis and Cathy Burkett attended the Dixie County Legislative Delegation with Rep. Charles "Chuck" Clemons, and an aide for Senator Rob Bradley.

Both students wanted to share with the state representative about the newest SWAT club in Dixie County and how they plan to change the tobacco use rate in their communities.  After an hour of great community input due to the great turn out at the Legislative Delegation this year, both students had to return to class before being able to speak with the Delegation, but were excited to take a picture. 

The Dixie County Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Melanie Anderson, spoke on behalf of the Dixie County SWAT youth and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County.  Mrs. Anderson shared the all three SWAT clubs that make up the Dixie County SWAT Chapter have already had good recruitment for the year, and have held many events in the community.  She also shared that the SWAT clubs continue to receive great support from the local community, the Chamber of Commerce, the school board, the county commissioners, and the Cross City Town Council. Read More

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Cross City Nursing & Rehabilitation Center Adopts a Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy
September 19, 2017

The Cross City Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 583 NE 351 HWY, Cross City, FL  32628 is a 60 bed facility with premier skilled nursing and rehabilitation center that specializes in short-term, skilled nursing and rehabilitation with Speech, Occupational and Physical therapy services.  The Center also includes an abundance of courtyards and various sitting areas for socialization and activities.  The comprehensive care includes 24-hour skilled nursing care, long-term care, post-acute care following surgery or hospitalization, hospice and palliative care, respite care, registered dietician services, psychological services and they accept Medicare, Medicaid, private pay and most insurances are accepted.

Cross City Nursing & Rehabilitation Center is committed to promoting health, wellness, prevention and treatment within the community.  CCNR serves as a model to the community by promoting good health and by influencing public attitudes about the effects of smoking.  Therefore, CCNR has adopted a Tobacco Free Policy Effective October, 1, 2017. 

After working with the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County and Suwannee River AHEC, a policy was developed.  The policy includes individuals but not limited to, employees, medical staff, volunteers, students, contract workers, EMT staff, residents and visitors.  The Policy defines tobacco as use of any cigarette, cigar, pipe, chewing, smokeless or other tobacco products, and electronic smoking devices (Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems). Read More

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Dixie County High School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Welcomes a New Advisor for the 2017-2018 School Year
August 30, 2017

The Dixie County High School SWAT youth welcome their new SWAT Advisor, Mrs. Judy Sumerall.  Mrs. Sumerall graduated from DCHS and has taught there for over 33 years. Her, her husband, children and grandchild all live in Dixie County.  She has been a member of the Tobacco Free Partnership in the past years and plans to continue the youth/adult partnership with the SWAT club. 

Mrs. Sumerall shared that she was interested in becoming the SWAT advisor because her Dad smoked until he passed away from lung cancer at the age of 69.  With the school year only in the third week, Mrs. Sumerall has already caught several students dipping tobacco in class.  She shared that she has seen too many students addicted to tobacco.  The ongoing issue with the social norm for smokeless tobacco use will be one of the tobacco related issues that the DCHS SWAT club will be addressing this year.

Mrs. Sumerall is looking forward to working with the DCHS SWAT youth.  The first Dixie County High School SWAT club meeting will be held on Monday, September 18 at 11:30 in Mrs. Sumerall’s class room.

   

For more information on the Students Working Against Tobacco Program in Dixie County, contact Tobacco Prevention Specialist Melanie Anderson at MAnderson@QuitDoc.com.

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Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco Wrap Up a Busy Year!
June 5, 2017

The Dixie County SWAT clubs have had a very active school year with lots of prevention activities and promotion of policy changes.  Each club continues to grow in experience and membership. 

Tobacco Free Partnership Youth Representatives

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County presented Certificates of Appreciation to the 2016-17 Youth members for contribution to tobacco prevention and policy work in Dixie County. Lora Beth Cooper, Brianna Yawn, Emily Sellers, Honey Kastala, Christa Marchant, Anna Whiddon, Ben Hays, Brendon Gillette, Daniel Bennett, Kentrell Hall and Margaret Vocar received the certificates.  Each youth member of the partnership are also Dixie County SWAT officers.  The youth have been a very important part of the partnership this year by presenting to the Cross City Rotary, asking the County Commissioners for a Through with Chew Week Proclamation, by participating in Tobacco Free National Observances, by attending and assisting in a training on Point of Sale in Dixie County and by continuing to attend and actively participating in the partnership. 

Dixie County High School SWAT Club

The Dixie County High School SWAT Advisor, Lindsey Whittingon has been an advisor for the past five years.  During the Tobacco Free Partnership meeting, she announced that she will be stepping down as the SWAT Advisor for the next school year.  Lindsey has finished her Master’s Degree in Education Leadership and plans to further her career as an administrator.  Lindsey did share that no matter what position or what school district she ends up working, she will continue to promote SWAT and tobacco prevention programs.  Lindsey recommend that the partnership consider Mrs. Judy Summerall (a teacher at the DCHS) to become the next SWAT Advisor. Mrs. Judy has been a member of the Tobacco Free Partnership and she has hosted the meetings at the Dixie County Library. Read More

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Removing Smokeless Tobacco Use from Baseball: Another Policy Designed to Protect Athletes
By Melanie Anderson
May 31, 2017

The health of all athletes should be priority number one for any sports organization.  Throughout the history of National Sports, policy and rules have been adopted that are designed to keep the athletes safe and healthy.  Requiring protection, new safety devices, penalties, and flags that slow down the flow of a game but have been shown to keep athletes safe from all types of risks. As science identifies dangerous factors the leagues and programs have adapted by designing new safety equipment and policies.

Most people think of Hockey as a very aggressive sport and have images of men with missing teeth from hockey puck hits to the mouth or from the many fights that occur during a game. The history of hockey highlights the ongoing changes in safety polices.    

Requiring the players to wear helmets seems logical to a new fan of the sport, but many of the older fans still discuss watching games where no players wore helmets and thought it would hinder the game. Boston's George Owen was the first to wear a helmet in 1928, and head protection became an issue when Toronto's Ace Bailey nearly died after being slammed into the ice by Boston's Eddie Shore. But it took Bill Masterton's death from a 1968 brain injury to make players at least start thinking seriously about them. Finally, in 1979, the league ruled all new players must wear a helmet. The last player to play bare-headed was Craig McTavish for St. Louis in 1996-97. Now watching a hockey game and seeing the obvious dangers to the players, it is difficult to see the old arguments against helmets.

Some people consider NASCAR the most dangerous sport on earth.  Considering the high speeds and how many wrecks that occur during each race, it is a testament to the safety standards that have been developed over time. Due to the large endorsements and viewership of the races, it is very important for the sport to keep the drivers and crews as safe as possible. In 1990, Dr. Robert Hubbard developed a Head and Neck Support device called a HANS device, that was designed to reduce the likelihood of head and/or neck injuries, such as a basilar skull fracture, in the event of a crash.  Even though the engineers from Ford and GM has been urging drivers to wear the HANS device, and the manufactures were willing to pay $1,200 for each device if the driver would wear them, many drivers thought the HANS device would restrict their movements and the most famous NASCAR driver, Dale Earnhardt referred to the HANS as “that damn noose.”
Read More

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Cross City Fly-In Air Show adds E-Cigarettes to Tobacco Free Policy
March 22, 2017

The 3rd Annual Cross City Fly-In and Business Expo will be held at the Cross City Air Port on April 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Dixie Chamber of Commerce puts on this annual event, and the Tobacco-Free Partnership of Dixie County is a silver sponsor for the event this year.

Admission to this event is free for all attendees, and booths are set up by local businesses, community group,s and churches allowing the visitors to play games, learn about local issues, and purchase locally-made items.  Some of the entertainment includes live music, kiddie rides, plane & helicopter rides, military displays, RC/Aircraft Demos, Car & Bike Show, and (if weather permits) a hot air balloon and a Blimp.

Last year the Chamber of Commerce made the decision to protect attendees of the Fly-In Air Show by making the event Tobacco-Free.  Members of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County presented a tobacco free policy to the Dixie County Commissioners that included combustible and smokeless tobacco for all visitors, vendors and volunteers.  The commissioners passed the policy because they wanted this to be a free and health event for everyone. The Tobacco-Free Partnership of Dixie County provided the signage for the event and participated as a vendor. Tobacco Free signage was posted throughout the event. Read More

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QuitDoc Foundation and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 10, 2017

Cross City, Fla. – QuitDoc Foundation and the Florida Department of Health’s Tobacco Free Florida program are raising awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco – like chew and dip – during Through With Chew Week. This national public awareness campaign was created to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people, and Tobacco Free Florida aims to help combat this deadly addiction. Through With Chew Week takes place Feb. 19-25, with the Great American Spit Out – a day when smokeless tobacco users join together to quit – on Feb. 23.

Although the youth cigarette smoking rate in Florida decreased over 50 percent between 2012 and 2016, the number of Florida high school students who reported current use of smokeless tobacco products decreased only 24.5 percent in those same four years. The disproportionately higher rate of smokeless tobacco use in rural areas is also alarming – current youth smokeless tobacco use is more than three times higher in rural communities than in non-rural areas. 10.8 percent of youth ages 11-17 in Dixie County reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2016, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.

“While we’re proud that youth smoking is at an all-time low, the number of young Floridians using smokeless tobacco is decreasing at a dramatically slower rate,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary Dr. Celeste Philip. "We need to do more to educate about the risks and deter our young people of using these products.”

 

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County and SWAT Youth will be submitting a Through With Chew Week Proclamation to the Dixie County Commissioners. The Dixie County SWAT clubs also have TWCW events planned at their schools. Read More

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The Issue of Smokeless Tobacco
January 17, 2017

Smokeless tobacco is not burned, contains nicotine and is addictive. Smokeless tobacco is typically called spit tobacco, chewing tobacco, chew, dip, plug, and probably a few other things. Types of smokeless tobacco include:

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Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco Promote Tobacco Free Sports Leagues
December 9, 2016

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County has been working with the Dixie County SWAT clubs over the past two years on creating a smokeless tobacco policy. This current year they have focused on Tobacco Free Events and Tobacco Free Sports Leagues. 

There is a very strong social norm for the use of smokeless tobacco among youth and young adults in Dixie County. Based on the 2014 FYTS 18.9% of High School Student in Dixie County have used smokeless tobacco in the past 30 days. This is much higher than the State of Florida use rate, 5.4%.

One of the strongest smokeless tobacco social norms has been the use of spit tobacco among major league baseball players.  Many of the game's top players are known tobacco users, a habit likely picked up much earlier in their baseball careers. In the new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB players union, all new players entering the league will be forbidden from using smokeless tobacco, like chew, dip and snuff. This is a victory for the health of new major league baseball players and little league baseball players all around the nation who look up to them as role models.  

The little league baseball players also look up to coaches, parents and other adults as behavioral role models; the more youth see smokeless tobacco use by adults they begin to assume it is an acceptable adult behavior. Smokeless tobacco use should be de-normalized to help these future major league baseball players to become healthier and prepared for the new MLB policy. Read More

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Dixie County Youth Attend Regional Students Working Against Tobacco Training in Palatka, Florida
November 5, 2016

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) members take their mission to save their generation from tobacco use very seriously. Not even the first hurricane to hit the State of Florida in a decade could dampen their resolve to be the voice of youth working against the influence of Big Tobacco.  Youth in the region were all set to gather together to commit themselves to regional and local plans to engage peers and community members to take a stand against tobacco when Hurricane Matthew appeared in the Atlantic. Although their meeting had to be postponed, not even the winds of a hurricane stopped their determination to work together to impact their communities for change.


Dixie County SWAT Youth Mary Whittington and Alice Whittington

After the winds died down and power was restored, on November 5th, two Ruth Rains Middle School SWAT youth from Dixie County and youth from SWAT Region 2, gathered together in Palatka to do just that as they gathered together under the theme, “Leave Your Mark”.  The training started out with a series of ice breakers designed to help the youth get to know each other, as well as providing activities that can be brought back into their own communities to use with their individual clubs.  Current work and tobacco prevention trends around the country were discussed, as SWAT youth learned about the nationwide movement to raise the smoking and tobacco use age to 21.

Next, SWAT youth learned and practiced essential skills with each other. Youth learned basic principles for running an effective SWAT meeting while focusing on things that make their own community special. The members also participated in several activities with groups which helped them learn about using good communication skills to spread their message more effectively. This activity included a challenge aspect so that each partner was required to be very clear and specific with his or her communication in order to successfully complete the task. Read More

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Tobacco Impacts on our Local Environment
By Tracy DeCubellis
September 19, 2016

Around the United States, many recreation areas such as beaches, parks, and other nature and recreational areas have attempted to stem the tide of environmental damage caused by tobacco waste by creating tobacco free areas.  Many people tend to think of tobacco in terms of secondhand smoke, which is important to be sure, but it is not often that the impact of those cigarette butts, e-cigarette waste, snuff and snus pouches, and other tobacco residue is actually having on natural areas and wildlife when people use them in natural settings. 

It is a well-known fact that tobacco products contain a variety of toxins like nicotine, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, arsenic, and a variety of other chemicals. They do not disappear when someone is finished using a tobacco product and they throw it on the ground. Instead, the toxins that remain in the product are deposited on the ground.  Did you know that cigarette butts are not biodegradable? All of those cigarette butts that are thrown on the ground stay there, polluting the environment. The sad fact is that cigarette butts are the number one source of beach pollution around the world.(1) In fact, only about 10% of all cigarette butts are actually thrown away or put into ashtrays.(2) Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County Begins to Address Local Point of Sale Tobacco Advertising
August 31, 2016

Dixie County Tobacco Free Partnership Members and Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Youth have created a Point of Sale (POS) Subcommittee to review the assessment of local tobacco marketing practices at the retail level! 

Tobacco companies spend $10-$13 billion dollars a year to market their products. These companies spend close to $1 billion dollars in Florida alone. This represents $7,700-$10,000 dollars spent to recruit each of the 1.3 million new teenage smokers who pick up their first cigarette every year.

Eighty-five percent of that total is spent on point-of-sale marketing. This type of marketing includes contracts, product placement, sign placement, and price breaks. This aggressive marketing floods our stores with images and objects that promote smoking. Exterior ads are used to expose the entire community to tobacco messages. Children are 3 times more sensitive than adults to current tobacco advertising and marketing. Read More

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Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco Wrap Up Another Year of Youth Tobacco Prevention!
May 24, 2016

The 2015-16 School year marks the end of another year for the Dixie County High School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) club.  This year has flown by and the DCHS SWAT officers have been very busy working on Tobacco Prevention and educating their peers about how the tobacco industry targets them.

The President of the DCHS SWAT club is Ivey Sapp, a senior that has been an active SWAT member for the past three years.  Ivey plans to go to college for Broadcast Journalism or Secondary English Education. Ivey shared that she would encourage other youth to join SWAT because it “is an excellent way to not only lower the smoking rate but to develop leadership and communication skills.” Ivey was also the Vice-President of SWAT in 2014-15 and attend two Regional SWAT trainings representing Dixie County. 


From L to R: Kentrell Hall, Reece Kruggel, Ebonie Walker, Lora Beth Cooper, Ivey Sapp, Chelsea Deloach, Riley Kruggel and Trevor Hruby. (Missing from photo: Katie Jones)

Vice-President and graduating senior Chelsea DeLoach has four years of SWAT experience.  Chelsea plans to start her future as a Correctional Officer and eventually become a Florida Highway Patrol Officer.  Chelsea shared that “the more people who join SWAT, the more people will know the dangers of tobacco.” In September 2015, Chelsea attended the Regional SWAT Training. Read More

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The Annual Cross City Fly-In Becomes a Tobacco-Free Event!
April 23, 2016

The 2nd Annual Cross City Fly-In and Expo took place in Cross City, Florida on April 23, 2016. The Dixie Chamber of Commerce puts on this annual event, and the Tobacco-Free Partnership of Dixie County was a silver sponsor for the event this year.

This year the Chamber of Commerce made the decision to protect attendees of the Fly-In Air Show by making the event Tobacco-Free.  Members of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County presented a tobacco free policy to the Dixie County Commissioners that included smoke and smokeless tobacco for all visitors, vendors and volunteers.  The commissioners passed the policy because they wanted this to be a free and health event for everyone. The Tobacco-Free Partnership of Dixie County provided the signage for the event and participated as a vendor. Tobacco Free signage was posted throughout the event... Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County Sponsors Local Little League to Reduce Smokeless Tobacco Around Youth
March 28, 2016

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County is countering the smokeless tobacco message by sponsoring the Dixie County Little League Sport Season in 2016. This sponsorship opportunity allows educational outreach to the little league baseball teams during the tee-ball and softball seasons, including playoff games.

This League has 26 teams with 10-12 players, and each team will have at least we 12 games. Parents, Grandparents and visitors will be attending these games at the Dixie County Little League fields, during which each visitor and athlete will have access to the Smokeless Tobacco Policy information through field banners and roster programs. This sponsorship will also include media via newspaper ads, and website links that will allow for non-attendees to learn about the smokeless tobacco policy work being done by the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County.

There is a very strong social norm for the use of smokeless tobacco among youth and young adults in Dixie County. Based on the 2014 FYTS 18.9% of High School Student in Dixie County have used smokeless in the past 30 days. This is much higher than the State of Florida at 5.4%.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County proposes to extend this initiative to stop smokeless tobacco use through policies to restrict smokeless tobacco use at youth sports leagues. The youth look up to coaches, parents, and other adults as behavioral role models, and the more youth see smokeless tobacco use by adults the more they begin to assume it is an acceptable adult behavior. The Partnership hopes that the removal of smokeless tobacco use in youth-friendly environments will de-normalize smokeless tobacco use and promote tobacco free social norms. Read More

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Smokeless Tobacco Use Remains High in Dixie County
QuitDoc Foundation and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 5, 2016

CROSS CITY, Fla. – QuitDoc Foundation and the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco, like chew and dip, during “Through With Chew Week.” This public awareness campaign was created to reduce the use of smokeless tobacco among young people and help combat this deadly addiction. “Through With Chew Week” takes place Feb. 14-20.

To raise awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco use QuitDoc Foundation, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County and Dixie County SWAT presented to the Board of County Commissioners to ask them to adopt a Through With Chew Week Proclamation.   On Feb. 4, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. the Dixie County Commissioners unanimously approved the proclamation.

 

L to R - Lindsey Whittington (Dixie County High School SWAT Advisor),
Bailee O'Steen, Cale McCall, Reece Kruggel, Chelsea Deloach, Riley Kruggel

 

Although youth cigarette smoking rates in Florida are at an all-time low, 18.9 percent of high school students in Dixie reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2014, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.  This is significantly higher than the state average of 5.4 percent.

“Smokeless tobacco products contain harmful chemicals that are known to cause cancer,” said Shannon Hughes, Director of the Florida Department of Health’s Community Health Promotion. "Youth who use smokeless products are more likely to experiment with other types of tobacco. Studies have shown that adolescent boys who use smokeless tobacco have a higher risk of becoming cigarette smokers.” Read More

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United States Congress Passes Child Nicotine Poisoning Protection Act; The Bill Now Goes to President Obama for His Signature
January 11, 2016

On January 11, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation requiring that liquid nicotine be sold in child-resistant packaging, consistent with Consumer Product Safety Commission standards.The Senate previously approved the legislation (the Child Nicotine Poisoning Prevention Act), which is designed to protect children from poisoning from highly concentrated vials of liquid nicotine.  The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.

"In recent years, the marketing of unregulated flavored nicotine products has led to a surge in accidental ingestion by children," said Dr. Barry Hummel, a Pediatrician and Co-Founder of the Quit Doc Foundation. "The new law will hold candy-flavored nicotine, including bubble gum and gummy bear flavored products, to the same standards as other over-the-counter drugs by requiring child-resistant packaging."

According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, one teaspoon of liquid nicotine could be lethal to a small child, and smaller amounts can cause severe illness.
"In 2011, there were 271 cases of accidental nicotine ingestion reported to poison control centers," added Dr. Hummel. "That number jumped to 3,783 by 2014, a 14-fold increase. More than half of these cases involved children under the age of 6, the group most vulnerable to severe illness and death." Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership Member Mary Jean Koll Shares her Quit And Tell Story!
November 19, 2015

The Great American Smoke-out, an observance sponsored by the American Cancer Society and Tobacco Free Florida was held on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015.  The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County was encouraging tobacco users to use the day to make a quit plan or to plan in advance to quit on that day. The observance, currently in its 40th year, raises awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective resources available to successfully quit. The theme this year was Quit & Tell that highlighted 6 steps in cessation:  Step 1, Decide to Quit, and tell yourself you can do it;  Step 2, Make a Plan to quit and tell Tobacco Free Florida and/or your health care provider that you need help; Step 3, Set a Quit Date, and tell your friends and family you need their support; Step 4, Start your Quit Journey, and tell yourself not to give up; Step 5, Keep Trying, and tell Tobacco Free Florida and/or your health care provider about your good and bad days; Step 6 Quit & Tell us about it!

On Wednesday, November 18, 2015, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County held the quarterly meeting at the Dixie County High School Media Center and was honored to host a presenter, Mary Jean Koll who came to speak about her experience with all 6 steps with finishing up with Quit & Tell.  She was very nervous to actually speak in front of others but knew that she wanted to be of any help for those who think about quitting. Read More

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Local Students Work Against Tobacco Youth Attend Regional Training in Clay County
October 1, 2015

ORANGE PARK, FL - Florida’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) program held its annual regional meeting on Saturday, September 25, 2015. Every year, regional SWAT meetings take place in each of four regions across Florida on the same day, but in different locations. Approximately 42 SWAT members attended to represent Region 2 in Orange Park, as well as two Dixie County SWAT officers.

Dixie County High School SWAT Club President, Ivey Sapp and Chelsea Deloach, a SWAT Officer, attended the Region 2 meeting. Both officers were very excited to meet with SWAT youth from around the region and to see all of the work that has been done by the Region 2 Youth Advocacy Board members.

The theme for the regional meeting this year was a puzzle. The idea was based on the fact that Region 2 includes 21 counties and each county could be looked at as a piece of a puzzle. The motto “Pieces of the Puzzle, Part of the Whole” was developed during a planning meeting and put on a large piece of foam board, which was then cut into jigsaw pieces. The pieces were placed in sealed envelopes and hidden around the conference center as a scavenger hunt icebreaker activity to kick off the SWAT meeting. Each student who found a puzzle piece assembled them at the end of the day to show the completed image of the 4 regions of Florida. Read More

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Meet Angie Land, Co-Chair of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County!
September 24, 2015

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County has begun the 2015-16 year with several great changes.  Jovonte Teague, the previous co-chair has been elected to become the Chair.  His dedication to the partnership has been very valuable with his support towards policy changes in Cross City and Dixie County.  The partnership also voted Mrs. Angie Land as the new co-chair. 

A lifelong resident, Angie Land loves Dixie County and is active in many areas of the community. Dixie County is “home” and where she and her husband Alton met, married and have raised all four of their children.

From the days of being a cheerleader at Dixie County High School to currently serving her community, Angie has been cheering for “Dixie” all of her life.

Angie holds a BS Degree from Liberty University in Religion/Christian Counseling. She works as the Family Life Director for Lafayette Baptist Association, serving as a family and marriage counselor for Dixie, Lafayette, Gilchrist and surrounding counties. She also works with the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition as a Project Coordinator, serves as the EMS Chaplain coordinator and serves on numerous boards of community organizations. She also authors a weekly newspaper column called “Heart Matters” carried by several newspapers in North Central Florida. Read More

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Teen Smoking Rates at All-Time Low
E-Cigarette Use On the Rise, Cause for Concern
September 23, 2015

TALLAHASSEE – Youth cigarette smoking rates in Florida are at an all-time low according to new data released on Tuesday by the Florida Department of Health. Conventional cigarette use among Florida high school students dropped from 8.6 percent in 2013* to 6.9 percent in 2015 – a 19.7 percent change. The Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) also showed declines in other combustible and traditional smokeless products.

“Floridians should be proud of the historic progress made in the state to reduce the number of young cigarette smokers,” said Community Health Promotion Division Director Shannon Hughes. “Since voters approved the constitutional amendment to create Tobacco Free Florida, high school cigarette smoking has gone down an impressive 52.4 percent.”

This new report also marks another important, but more troubling trend. Current e-cigarette use among high school students has increased – from 5.4 percent in 2013 to 15.8 percent in 2015. Hookah use among high school students has also increased, from 8.2 percent in 2013 to 9.7 percent in 2015. Since 2009, when FYTS began tracking current hookah use, the rate has increased 26 percent. Read More

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Character Community School Starts a New Students Working Against Tobacco Club
August 26, 2015

The Character Community School has joined the Dixie County SWAT Chapter for the 2015-16 School year. 

Mrs. Johnnie Grimes, the CCS Administrator, has been active in participating in tobacco free holidays such as Kick Butts Day prior to joining SWAT.  Last school year her students made selfie statements in the, “I’m Not a Replacement” Campaign. 

Mrs. Johnnie started the CCS two years ago when she realized that there was a need in Dixie County for school choice for a very diverse population of students.  The school provides small classes with more one-on-one educational experiences. 

Mrs. Johnnie wanted the students to not only receive a well-developed education she also wanted each student to learn about health issues that will help them in their future.  The tobacco use issue is one that Mrs. Johnnie has always wanted to address with the students to help them become advocates for them and their family members.
Read More

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Warning Labels and Child-Resistant Packaging on Liquid Nicotine Bottles
A Letter from Florida Surgeon General Dr. John Armstrong
July 22, 2015

There have been a number of media stories recently concerning the regulation of packaging for liquid nicotine intended for use in electronic cigarettes. The rapid increase of e-cigarette use by teens and the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine is an alarming public health concern. The state of Florida urges immediate guidance from federal regulators and calls for increased vigilance from parents, businesses and e-cigarette users to keep these items away from children.

Child-resistant packaging on bottles and cartridges of liquid nicotine used in e-cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices are necessary to protect infants and children. If swallowed or absorbed through the skin, liquid nicotine can lead to serious illness or even death. In fact, the number of calls to poison centers involving e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine rose from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014, according to a study published last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than half of the calls to poison centers due to e-cigarettes involved young children under age 5. The number of calls per month involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during the same time period... Read More

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Spotlight:
Tobacco Free Partnership Chair Charlotte Lord Retires!

June 4, 2015

For nearly 6 years, the Tobacco Free Partnership has had a very committed Chairwoman, Charlotte Lord. 

Charlotte started attended meetings in 2009 when she began as the Director of Facilities, as well as Director of Policy, for Dixie County Schools. Charlotte has been instrumental in posting tobacco free signage at all schools, including the sports fields, and spearheading policy changes at the school board.

While principal at Dixie County High School, Charlotte was very supportive of the SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) club. She reported that she saw firsthand the difference it could make for students.  As Chair of the Tobacco Free Partnership, she continued her support of the Dixie County High School SWAT club, and worked closely with the School Board to promote the goals of the Partnership. Read More

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Spotlight: Dixie County High School SWAT President Joshua Aneudy Diaz
May 1, 2015

The Dixie County High School SWAT President, Joshua Aneudy Diaz will be graduating high school in May. 

Josh has been a member of SWAT since 6th grade at Ruth Rains Middle School.  Josh has served as an officer at the Dixie County High School for the past three years as reporter, junior representative, and current president.  Josh has been an active member of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County.

Ms. Lindsey Whittington, the SWAT Advisor at the high school shared that Josh has learned leadership skills through SWAT and it has shown in the many activities that he has participated in throughout the years.  He is a very dependable SWAT member and the first to give input and to speak to decision makers.  Through SWAT, Josh had become aware of the dangers of tobacco and it became close to his heart as he worked towards helping members of his family to become tobacco free. “Josh was really proud of the hookah presentation that he did as SWAT at the beginning of the school year, added Ms. Whittington. "He was also a part of the group of SWAT that presented to the County Commissioners before they passed the e-cigarette ordinance last year.” Read More

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Why School Tobacco Policy Matters
By Tracy DeCubellis, April 28, 2015

The topic of tobacco use in schools has been important for popular culture and academic research throughout the years.  Rock and Roll songs about smoking in school and movies showing rebellious teens smoking on campus are part of public perception about school tobacco use.  Since Brownsville Station observed back in 1973, “everybody knows that smoking ain’t allowed in school,” why does it still happen?  That is what researchers want to know.

A recent look at school tobacco policies in Michigan and how they affect student smoking had some interesting results as reported in the Journal of School Health.

There is a statewide initiative in Michigan that encourages schools to create a 24/7 tobacco policy that covers on and off-campus activities and applies to all students, staff, and visitors.  This is similar to the school policy being encouraged in Florida through the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida.  Using the Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the researchers looked at data reported by students. They also looked at data from 14 schools using the Michigan School Health Profiles report.  The study also looked at individual and school-based variables that they thought would influence student tobacco use. Read More 

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Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Celebrate Kick Butts Day!
March 20 , 2015

The Dixie County SWAT clubs held three different events in honor of the annual Kick Butts Day 2015.  Each event highlighted the fact that tobacco kills 1,300 Americans every single day and that tobacco companies aggressively market tobacco products towards teens specifically to replace the customers who die.  These events were held to empower the youth of Dixie County to stand up to big tobacco and declare that they are #NotAReplacement.

At the Dixie County High School, the SWAT youth set up an information booth during both lunch breaks where every student was able to view and learn about how big tobacco targets them and how they can join the efforts to advocate against tobacco addiction.  Students voluntarily signed a #NotAReplacement Selfie Statement.  Each student personalized their statement with a description of who they are and/or what they represent.  Many students shared a selfie picture holding their statements on their favorite social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  This was a great event at Dixie County High School because so many students learned about the SWAT club and how to talk to their peers and siblings about tobacco addiction. Read More

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QuitDoc Awarded Tobacco Prevention Grant for Dixie County
February 6, 2015

Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation (QuitDoc) has once again been awarded a grant from the State of Florida Department of Health to continue to provide tobacco awareness and prevention programs throughout Dixie County.  The programs are designed to reduce the number of teenagers who start smoking each year, to decrease the number of tobacco related deaths, and to provide information on appropriate methods to quit smoking.

The program is funded from a trust fund created with money paid to Florida as part of a settlement with the tobacco industry in 1997.   Florida sued the tobacco industry to recoup the cost of providing medical services to Florida residents that were caused by the use of tobacco.  The funding has been used to create Tobacco Free Florida, a comprehensive statewide tobacco prevention and cessation program.

“The Tobacco Free Florida program has been incredibly successful at reducing tobacco use among youth and adults in Florida,” reports Dr. Barry Hummel, a Pediatrician who co-founded QuitDoc.  “Use of traditional tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, and spit tobacco are now at historic lows in the state among all age groups.”
Read More  

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Dixie County Students Working Against Tobacco to Host a 5K Walk/Run to Promote Healthy Lifestyles, Tobacco Cessation
December 11 , 2014

The Dixie County High School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County, and the Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition will be holding the Dixie Twilight Walk/Run 5k on December 20th, 2014. The race event will start on the Dixie County High School campus. 

The SWAT officers have been planning a 5k for over a year.  The SWAT youth want to promote healthy lifestyles and getting active as an alternative to tobacco use.  Based on the 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, over 18% of Dixie County High School students have reported being obese, at or above the 95th percentile for body mass index by age and sex. Along with this data, the SWAT youth noted that the Dixie County High School students ranked higher than the state average rates of use of Smokeless Tobacco, Exposure to Secondhand Smoke, and Smoking Allowed in the Home.  A change in the social norm for tobacco use could be tied to the need for more physical activities that encourage healthy lifestyles. Read More

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Dixie County Library System Shares Policy on E-Cigarette Use With the Three Rivers Regional Library System
November 1 , 2014

Cindy Ballot, Director of the Dixie County Library System, has been very supportive of the Dixie County SWAT youth and a partner of the Tobacco Free Partnership for over 5 years.  Recently she received an e-mail from the Three Rivers Regional Library System (TRRLS) director about the dangers of e-cigarettes and asked her opinions of the TRRLS Board addressing the issue of using e-cigarettes in libraries in their policies. 

Mrs. Ballot was so proud to be able to share with the TTRLS Board about the Electronic cigarette and liquid nicotine ordinance Dixie County passed last year.  She also shared with the TTRLS Board a link to the Tobacco Free Partnership website to read a previous article about a Dixie County Commissioner who had attended a presentation on electronic cigarettes and decided to address the Board of County Commissioners in order to adopt an ordinance that would require an age restriction,  addresses product placement,  and would restrict the use of e-cigarettes to meet the Clean Indoor Air Act.  The ordinance was passed without objection. 

Due to the fast acting County Commissioners, the Dixie County Library system does not have to deal with the issue of including e-cigarettes into their library policies before telling library users that it is not permitted.  Libraries all over the country have banned electronic cigarettes and smokeless tobacco use for many reasons such as “difficulty in monitoring the use of e-cigarettes, coupled with potential confusion from customers who don’t discern the difference between tobacco cigarettes and their electronic counterparts ‘at a glance’.” Other libraries want to wait for more studies to determine safety to users and others. Read More

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Tobacco Industry Whistle-Blower, Dr. Victor DeNoble, Visits Dixie County
September 18, 2014

On Thursday, September 18, the Dixie County Tobacco Free Partnership and the Dixie County SWAT youth hosted presentations by Victor J. DeNoble, Ph.D.  at the Ruth Rains Middle School, the Dixie County High School and at a Community Forum at the Dixie County Community Library.

Victor J. DeNoble, Ph.D. has been giving presentations to youth and adults for nearly two decades.  His compelling story starts when he was recruited to develop a safer cigarette for Philip Morris in the 1980’s. In his secret research laboratory, he studied nicotine’s effects on the central nervous system and was successful in developing a nicotine substitute that did not elevate the heart rate; however, attempts to publish his work were suppressed by Philip Morris. Dr. DeNoble was eventually fired, his laboratory was shuttered, and his research was seized.

In 1994, after a decade of being silenced by a secrecy agreement, he became the first whistle blower to testify before Congress and was a key witness in the federal government’s investigation into the tobacco industry’s research practices... Read More

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Local Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Attend Regional Training on Current Tobacco Prevention Issues
September 13, 2014

Dixie County High School SWAT President, Josh Diaz and Vice President Ivey Sapp attended the 2014 SWAT Region 2 Meeting at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center on the campus of Saint Johns River State College in Orange Park, Florida on Saturday, September 13, 2014. 

During the meeting the SWAT officers were able to meet SWAT youth from counties across North Central Florida.  Interactive Icebreaker activities allowed the youth to open up and share with other youth that they have never met before.  Josh said that the Icebreaker activities were “great for meeting other students that have the same commitment to make a difference in their communities”... Read More

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Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation is Encouraging Local Residential Buildings to Go Smoke-Free
Policies Protect Residents From Secondhand Smoke and Smoking-Related Fires
June 10, 2014

Cross City – Smoke-free multiunit housing, a growing trend throughout the country, is making its way to Florida. Across the state, there are more than 500 smoke-free multiunit housing properties and 73,000 smoke-free units.

Neighboring County, Marion County has had numerous facilities that have already implemented smoking-free policies. Michelle Crabtree, the Housing Manager at Heritage Oaks of Ocala, stated “the transition to Smoke Free Housing has been a true positive for Heritage Oaks of Ocala. Many of our residents who use tobacco took advantage of the free cessation programs offered by the Tobacco Free Partnership and have either quit smoking or significantly cut back. This is an added bonus since it helps improve their health! Some applicants have told me that a factor in choosing Heritage Oaks of Ocala is the fact that we are smoke free.”

The Timber Apartment Manager, Lynn Kitchens shared that she thinks that it would be a good policy to go smoke-free for the residents at the apartment complex.  She shared that many of the residents that do smoke cigarettes, usually smoke outside of the apartment but there are a few who do smoke inside the multi-unit apartments. Mrs. Kitchens would like to help keep the residents healthy and safe.  Information on secondhand smoke and smoke-free multi-unit housing will be shared with the residents in the office... Read More

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Florida Teens Win Top Awards Among
Youth Advocates Working Against Tobacco

Two Florida High School Students Were Honored in the Nation’s Capital
May 22 , 2014

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Magi Linscott, a Santa Rosa County high school student and Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) youth advocate, was named the National Youth Advocate of the Year by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. This is the highest award among the country’s top youth advocates working against tobacco.

Chandler Ash from Gilchrist County was named the Southern Region Youth Advocate of the Year. Both Florida teens were honored in Washington, D.C., on May 15 along with three other U.S. regional winners and a group winner. More than 400 public health, political, civic and business leaders attended the 18th annual gala to recognize these young leaders.

The Youth Advocates of the Year Awards honor outstanding young people who are among today's most effective leaders in tobacco control. These youth have fought hard to protect their generation from the dangers of tobacco by promoting tobacco prevention legislation, exposing tobacco marketing to kids, and keeping their peers from using tobacco... Read More

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Dixie County High School SWAT Club Celebrates World No Tobacco Day by "Dunking the Dip"
May 20 , 2014

The Dixie County High School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) club conducted an event for World No Tobacco Day on the Dixie County High School campus.  The focus of World No Tobacco Day for Dixie County High School SWAT was “Dunk the Dip and Dip the Butts”.   

Every student at Dixie County High School attended, observed and/or participated in the events.  A dunking booth was used to attract the students to information displayed near the booth. Fifteen teachers, staff and administrators were active participants during the event. 

Steven Quaka, a SWAT Officer, read off tobacco facts and World No Tobacco Day information over the loud speakers.    Sarah Hurst, Todd Pinner, Elizabeth Nunez and SWAT Advisor Lindsey Whittington all volunteered to be dunked in the dunking booth... Read More

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Dixie County SWAT Students Create a SWAT Recruitment Campaign on WZCC Radio
April 29, 2014

Three of the Dixie County High School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) members participated in a recording session at the Cross City studio for SunCoast Radio Inc., WZCC-1240 AM Cross City, 93.3 FM.

The SWAT members recorded four different spots for SWAT recruitment for the two Dixie County SWAT clubs.  Sarah Hurst, SWAT President, Stephen Quaka, and Elizabeth Nunez worked with Mr. John Elliott of SunCoast to record the spots so that the messages were clear and strong.

One of the spots focused on a May Days Campaign highlighting how Big Tobacco targeted veterans in the past that lead to the highest smoking rates in our country.  Now big tobacco is targeting our youth... Read More

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Dixie County Teens Tell Big Tobacco:
We are Not “Replacements”

March 19, 2014

The tobacco industry is losing customers. Not only are more smokers quitting, every day, an estimated 1,315 people in the United States die because of smoking. 

In response, the tobacco industry targets a new generation of potential nicotine addicts, which they call “replacement smokers.” A 1984 internal document from R.J. Reynolds’, the makers of Camel, stated: “Younger adult smokers are the only source of replacement smokers… If younger adults turn away from smoking, the industry must decline, just as a population which does not give birth will eventually dwindle.”

On Kick Butts Day, Dixie County’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs spoke up and took action to let Big Tobacco know they will be not replacements. Kick Butts Day, which this year was celebrated on March 20, is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids national day of activism that empowers youth to fight back against Big Tobacco... Read More

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Dixie County Commission Passes Ordinance to Restrict Youth Access and Exposure to Electronic Cigarettes
February 6, 2014

At the November 21, 2013 Dixie County Commission Meeting, Commissioner Jodi Robson discussed his attendance at the most recent Dixie County Anti-Drug Coalition meeting where he learned about electronic cigarettes and he was not happy that there was no age restriction on the sale of them to minors.  He suggested that the county commissioners draft an ordinance on e-cigarettes.

The Dixie County Attorney, Jennifer Ellison reviewed e-cigarette ordinance from other counties and drew up an ordinance that prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine to persons under the age of eighteen, for the prohibition on the use within the county of an e-cigarette where smoking is prohibited, and for a prohibition on self-service merchandising in the sale of e-cigarettes and liquid nicotine, The ordinance also outlined enforcement and penalties... Read More