News and Events

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) is Evaluating Point-of-Sale Marketing of Vaping Products in Gilchrist County
April 29, 2019

One way the Tobacco Free Partnership and SWAT have collaborated recently is through working on common interests in the area of point of sale tobacco marketing issues. The Tobacco Free Partnership recently spoke to the City of Trenton regarding restricting youth access to tobacco products near schools. E-cigarettes (or ENDS) are an important part of this discussion because young people under the age of 18 have turned their interest to trying them, especially the brand called Juul, which is popular among young people.

According to the 2018 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), 31.5% of Gilchrist youth from age 11-17 say they have used an e-cigarette. Since e-cigarettes first came out, that is a 197% increase in the number of Gilchrist youth who have tried e-cigarettes! Additionally, 19.8% of Gilchrist youth from age 11-17 say they CURRENTLY use e-cigarettes (that means they are regular users). That represents a 607% increase in the number of Gilchrist young people who are regular e-cigarette users since they first became available!

These numbers are concerning; however, Gilchrist County is not the only location with high youth use of ENDS products. In fact, the FDA has declared youth e-cigarette use in America to be an “epidemic”. Youth access to ENDS products is a nationwide problem, but local decision makers have tools at their disposal to help reduce the number of young people in their own communities who have access to all kinds of e-cigarette or vapor products.

Some wonder how the young people gain access to these products when Florida law states the age of sale is 18 years of age. The Truth Campaign conducted a study to determine where kids were buying the Juul, and they found that 74% of young people reported getting Juul at a local store. Students could list multiple sources for obtaining Juul, and 52% of them also reported that a friend would purchase it for them. Only 6% of young people reported buying online.

In addition to the issue with ENDS product use by Gilchrist youth, the FYTS reveals that there was a 27% increase in the number of youth who regularly use smokeless tobacco in Gilchrist County. The rate of youth exposure to secondhand smoke around family and friends is also higher than their peers around the State of Florida.

For these reasons, the Tobacco Free Partnership presented about these topics to the City of Trenton. The Trenton SWAT 4-H Club provided support for this activity by creating a photovoice campaign which was displayed at the Trenton Library. This project incorporated pictures taken by club member showing tobacco and e-cigarette advertisements they were exposed to during the course of their normal day. Each photo was captioned with a personal statement about why that image affects their perceptions of e-cigarettes.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist also gained letters of support for policies restricting youth access from community organizations such as the Prevention Coalition of Gilchrist, Gilchrist County Health Department, The Character Council, and the Trenton Library. It is important to note that there is a wide coalition of support for the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership, and also for policies that protect our young people from initiating nicotine or tobacco usage. Prevention is truly the key for keeping our young people nicotine free.

For more information about these issues, or to join the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County, please contact us at


Florida Youth Tobacco Survey:

Truth Campaign youth access survey data: