News and Events

Tobacco Free Partnership Supports the School Boards New Tobacco Policy
August 31, 2023

The Gilchrist Tobacco Free Partnership has been working side by side with our school board, to assist and help improve the tobacco policy in place within the Gilchrist County School Board. Previous tobacco policies in place within the county for years did restrict tobacco use, but also was very broad and undefined in the wording when it came to tobacco use, tobacco products, and alternative punishments when it came to those caught breaking the policy. Having a policy with lack of definition and grey areas leaves room for people to interpret and find loopholes in the rules. Leading to a policy that is not followed the same way throughout different schools and facilities, but those days are behind us. 

With the newest policy adaptation to tobacco use, prohibition of possessing these products, and stronger defined terms and definitions these loopholes are nonexistent now within Gilchrist County. With the help of the Tobacco Free Partnership, The Northeast Florida Education Consortium, and other statewide organizations the Gilchrist County School Board was able to come to agreement to strengthen the tobacco policies to better control the tobacco issues being seen on campuses. Things such as vaping being added to the restricted list, possession, and even coming up with alternative punishments to repeat offenders besides suspension from school were all added to the new policy.

One important thing the Gilchrist TFP is currently working on aiding the school board to implement into the new policy is the adoption of online courses to educate students using these products of the long-term damages that come with tobacco use. If possible, implementing this program into the school could be vital in helping aid students in quitting the use of tobacco products and also help students avoid being suspended for days where they will miss their other classes possibly making them fall behind in their course work.

The Gilchrist TFP also looks to help the school board with providing new signage at all entrances of the schools highlighting the banning of these tobacco products (Cigarettes, Chewing Tobacco, and Vapes) under the new school board policies. These signs will be posted at all entrances so even visitors are made aware of the rules and prohibition of tobacco on school board owned properties. This will allow for cleaner campuses, cleaner sports facilities, and will assure our local students will have smoke free environments to be able to go to and educate themselves getting ready for their futures.

The Gilchrist Tobacco Free Partnership looks forward to continuing evolving the community by supporting healthier living and instilling good habits over bad for the foreseeable future. If you would like to join the partnership and lend a hand in continuing the forward movement of a healthier community quarterly meetings are held via zoom and are open to the public. If interested, please email us at:, we hope to continue to grow in support and look forward to the future challenges to come.