News and Events

The Gilchrist County 4-H SWAT Club Gains Statewide Recognition for Anti-Tobacco Initiatives
By Tracy DeCubellis, Gilchrist County Tobacco Prevention Specialist

Gilchrist County 4-H SWAT (Students Working  Against Tobacco) Clubs are busy working on several projects in 2011 in the county and beyond.  On January 29, 2011, three SWAT members participated in Gilchrist County 4-H County Events by giving demonstrations on tobacco issues.  SWAT members Spencer Hewitt and Emily Padot presented a team demonstration focusing on the dangers of tobacco use and secondhand smoke.  Taking on the issue of tobacco marketing through candy flavored tobacco products in an individual demonstration was Chandler Ash.  All three SWAT members earned blue ribbons, and won top honors in their respective categories.  They will move on to 4-H District Events, and eventually present their demonstrations at the state level this summer during Florida 4-H Congress at the University of Florida.  These SWAT members are to be commended for their hard work, dedication and willingness to reach out to others with these important issues.

Gilchrist 4-H SWAT

During the months of February and March, SWAT clubs are also hard at work on the Store Alert project in Gilchrist County.  Students view and summarize tobacco advertisements found in local convenience stores and groceries throughout the county.  This is the third year that SWAT youth have spearheaded this project in Gilchrist County, and they will be adding some additional information to their surveys to join a statewide project to evaluate outdoor tobacco advertising.  Store Alert results supply important data for our county to determine if tobacco advertising is being targeted toward youth or is heavily concentrated around schools. 

One of the most important events of the year for SWAT also occurs in March – Kick Butts Day.  This year, Kick Butts Day will be observed on March 23rd and our clubs have designed an activity to involve all youth in Gilchrist County in grades 6-12.  This year SWAT will be sponsoring an essay contest on the topic of candy flavored tobacco, and 30-second commercial contest on the topic of secondhand smoke.  SWAT youth hope that by sponsoring this contest, they will encourage other youth in the community to think about, and discuss tobacco issues that are impacting them in their community every day.  They look forward to providing an avenue for the voices of youth to be heard on these important topics.  The Gilchrist County Journal has agreed to print the top two winning essays on consecutive weeks in support of the contest. 

Looking ahead to this summer, three of our SWAT youth have been sponsored by the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County to attend Citizenship Washington Focus in Washington D.C. this July.  The three youth, Chandler Ash, Spencer Hewitt and Allie Madlem are members of the county-wide 4-H SWAT Advisory Board, and look forward to meeting their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.  This is a great opportunity for our 4-H SWAT members to represent the concerns of the youth of Gilchrist County on a national level.

The Gilchrist County 4-H SWAT youth are hard at work in 2011.  These youth are dedicated to serving the community with positive messages and supporting others in choosing a tobacco free lifestyle.


Results of the 2010 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey Reveal Progress in Gilchrist County, Florida
By Barry Hummel, Jr., MD, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

The results of the 2010 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) were released in November, 2010, and those results reveal the success of tobacco prevention efforts in Gilchrist County, Florida over the last two years... Read More


Surveillance of Point-of Purchase Tobacco Advertising and Placement in Local Businesses Gilchrist County, Florida
by Barry Hummel, Jr., MD, Co-Founder, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, August 2010

During the fourth quarter of the current fiscal year, surveillance was conducted to evaluate point-of-purchase tobacco advertising and product placement in Gilchrist County, Florida.  Our core concern is the level of tobacco advertising and the amount of self-service tobacco to which youth are exposed in the local community... Read More


Tobacco Issues in the 2010 Florida Legislative Session
by Thomas J. Harrington, Facilitator, Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County

During the 2010 Florida Legislative Session, two important tobacco issues came before the House and Senate.  The first bill involved secondhand smoke exposure in automobiles that included passengers that were children.  The second involved a shift in funding for community-based tobacco prevention programs mandated by an amendment to the Florida Constitution passed in 2006... Read More