News and Events

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County is PLanning for the Future!
September 17, 2021

The beginning of the 2021-2022 fiscal year has started and with that the beginning of pushing for more Tobacco-Free policies and areas within the community. The QuitDoc Foundation has been chosen to continue tobacco-free work within Gilchrist County for the next 9 years, and we do not take this responsibility lightly. We look forward to continuing our partnership with local community groups, educating the public, & also pushing for more policies and changes locally in efforts to improve the overall community’s health.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County has some very important goals for the year. One of the most important is the introduction of the Florida Department of Health’s newest courses on youth tobacco and vaping infractions. These courses offer students, caught on campus with tobacco products, the opportunity to take these online classes on school grounds while avoiding other punishment. These courses were designed by the state as an alternative to school suspensions, instead of suspending a student off campus for multiple days the student will be offered the online course on school grounds to be educated on the risks of tobacco and the effect it has on developing young adults. These courses are not only a great alternative towards suspensions or other punishment, but they are all 100% free. The state developed these courses for students, administrators, and school nurses who can all educate themselves further on the tobacco issues amongst adolescents and will be rewarded with a certificate after the completion of these courses. The main hurdle the Tobacco Free Partnership will have with getting this implemented into the schools is brining this forward to the school board to be voted on and discussed. Though it should not be too big a hurdle for us to cross seeing that it is not only free for no charge to the county, but also encourage a healthier young generation within our community.

The Partnership will also be participating in the statewide tobacco retailers survey later this year in efforts to gather more information and statistics to stores who retail tobacco products. One of the main reasons for surveys of this sort are to keep track of the local retailers within the market, but also to check to make sure their abiding to all advertisement and placement laws. Other important statistics local surveys tend to offer is the data to compare our county to other counties within the state. How much product is available, flavors, pricing, and more. With gathering these stats we will be able to look at how Gilchrist lines up to other counties and if there are any immediate red flags that may need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

We are also looking looking forward to getting back in gear now with the schools fully back in session. With all the students on campus again we intend a much larger group of students to join our 2 local SWAT clubs (Students Working Against Tobacco). Each year our local clubs spread the message of the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle to their schools and peers. They also participate in annual tobacco-free holidays throughout the year, such as “Not A Lab Rat Day” and the “Great American Smokeout”. Our local SWAT clubs have grown year after year getting more students involved pushing the message against big tobacco companies targeting kids their age. We are in great hope that our clubs will continue growing by educating more students about the dangers and tactics these big companies use.

For more information, contact Dan Murray at DMurray@QuitDoc.com.