News and Events

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

Students Working Against Tobacco 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. Middleburg High School Juniors, Riley Johns and Ansleigh Herrera attended with the Clay County SWAT Coordinator, Joy Moritz.


Middleburg High School SWAT students Riley Johns (L) and Ansleigh Herrera (R) with Clay County SWAT Coordinator, Joy Moritz (center).

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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Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County appoints 2017-2018 Advisory Council
September 14, 2017

ORANGE PARK, FL — The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County has appointed its 2017-2018 Advisory Council.  Advisory Council members assume a leadership role in regard to tobacco control, advocacy, education, prevention and policy change in Clay County.


From L to Right: Chief Gary Goble, Jose Morales, Stephaie Geoghagan, Tyler Garcia, Tasha Kent

Chief Gary Goble of the Orange Park Police Department, Jose Morales of the Clay County Health Department, and Stephanie Geoghagan with the Clay Action Coalition are returning to the Advisory Council again this year. Tyler Garcia and Tasha Kent both Freshman from Middleburg High School SWAT are new to the Advisory Council this year.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County is dedicated to the creation of tobacco-free social norms through a combination of community education, youth advocacy, and changes in local tobacco policies.  The mission of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County reflects the goals of the CDC Best Practices, especially with regards to changes in local tobacco policies to create and promote tobacco-free social norms.

For more information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County, contact Lea Rhoden at LRhoden@QuitDoc.com.

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Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco Members Attend Statewide Meeting
July 1, 2017

The Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida hosted a statewide meeting for staff and youth members of Students Working Against Tobacco. The training was held in Leesburg, Florida on June 9-11, 2017 at the Lake Yale Baptist Conference Center. Clay County SWAT members, Cameron and Tyler Garcia, along with SWAT Coordinator, Joy Moritz, had the opportunity to attend the Statewide SWAT meeting.

The purpose of this meeting was to train staff and youth advocates from each of the 67 counties across the state in effective tobacco prevention and control strategies.  Nearly 1300 Americans die prematurely every day from a tobacco related death and preventing tobacco use is pivotal.  The involvement and participation of our youth in this meeting will be vital for statewide planning.

During the weekend long meeting, the youth and adults attended Opening session, workshops and closing session focused on advocacy and getting their message out. They youth learned a lot of shocking facts about tobacco and made lots of new friends. Clay County SWAT youth member Tyler Garcia stated, “This training really opened my eyes to see the dangers of tobacco and how far we’ve come in the fight against tobacco since the early 1990’s.” Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County Takes Their Message Out to the Ballgame
June 5, 2017

On Monday, June 5, 2017, The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County and Tobacco Free Jacksonville partnered with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp baseball team to participate in the “Charity Begins at Home” program.

It was a great opportunity to spread the message of Tobacco Free Florida. Community partners and Students Working Against Tobacco club members from both Clay and Duval Counties attended the game with complimentary tickets as a thank you for their support of the programs.

   
       
 

Wilkinson Junior High School 8th grade student and Students Working Against Tobacco club member, Tyler Garcia, even threw out the first pitch! Other SWAT club members participated in on field activities throughout the night as well.

“We were excited about this continued partnership and it was a great event. When we work together across county lines and in the community, we can make a greater impact in the fight against tobacco,” stated Lea Rhoden. Lea is the Community Health Advocate for the QuitDoc Foundation in Clay County and she organized the event, working with Andrea Williams, Director of Community Relations for the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp to recognize the organizations and their community partners. 

 

For more information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County, contact Lea Rhoden at LRhoden@QuitDoc.com.

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Clay County SWAT Youth Attend Annual QuitDoc Tobacco Prevention Summit
April 28, 2017

On April 28, 2017 Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco Youth attended the 9th Annual QuitDoc Tobacco Prevention Summit in Gainesville, Florida. SWAT Club members from Orange Park High School, Oakleaf High School, Oakleaf Junior High School and Wilkinson Junior High School were in attendance.

The theme for the one day summit was Emerging Issues of Tobacco Control. SWAT students participated in two keynote sessions where Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids presented about taking down tobacco and informing decision makers. The SWAT students also participated in two breakout sessions. Youth breakout sessions were interactive and an informative training experience for Clay County SWAT youth. Students were trained on public speaking and on rural county tobacco initiatives. Read More

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Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs Participate in Kick Butts Day
March 15, 2017

On March 15, Clay County SWAT Students participated in Kick Butts Day. Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco. It is estimated more than 1,000 events took place in schools and communities across the United States and even around the world.

On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to: raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community; encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry's deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.  

   

In Clay County, our local clubs participated in a variety of activities. Oakleaf Junior High School and Wilkinson Junior High School students participated in a campus clean up. The club members organized a trash pickup and invited other students and clubs to help them. Lake Asbury Junior High school students created grave markers with tobacco facts on them and put them on display around the school. The students at Orange Park Junior High School signed a tobacco free pledge. Oakleaf High School and Orange Park High School created displays for their cafeteria. Middleburg High School students hosted a presentation during Bronco hour and Lakeside Junior High School had a photo booth set up in the cafeteria for students to use during lunch.

Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996 and the Clay County SWAT Clubs have been very active in the event over the years.

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 10, 2017

Clay County, Fla. – The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County 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. 4.1% percent of youth ages 11-17 in Clay 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 Clay County is hosting informational tables and activities at the local Junior and Senior High Schools through our Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs in Clay County. The initiative takes place on February 20 – 24, 2017 throughout the county. 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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2016 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) Results Show Progress in Clay County
December 1, 2016

We are excited to announce the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey Results for Clay County, as well as the statewide data for 2016 is in! The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County and Clay County SWAT Students look forward to these results every other year!

The Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) was administered in the spring of 2016. A total of 753 public high schools and middle schools in the 67 Florida counties participated in the FYTS. There were 69,640 students who participated in the 2016 FYTS; 33,558 at the high school level and 36,082 at the middle school level. This data is way for public health professionals, students, teachers, parents, and the public to explore data pertaining to youth tobacco use.

In Clay County, we are happy to announce an overall 6% decrease in youth who have tried cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco. In fact, there was a 6.2% drop in those that have tried cigarettes, 6.7% drop in those that have tried cigars and a 3.4% drop in those that have tried smokeless tobacco.

Additionally, we saw similar drops in the percentage of youth who currently use cigarettes (2.4% decrease), cigars (3.6% decrease) and smokeless (2.6% decrease). For years, tobacco prevention has been at the forefront of providing education and information to decrease the use of tobacco in the Country, State of Florida and in Clay County. It seems the work continues to pay off as we have seen a decrease in cigarettes, cigars and smokeless for several years now.

However, the rising epidemic of electronic cigarettes and vaping that Big Tobacco has created is wreaking havoc on the hard work that we have done to minimize tobacco use in this country. We are seeing these effects nationwide, statewide and throughout Clay County. In fact, since 2014 there has been an 9.6% increase in the percentage of youth in Clay County who currently use electronic vaping, and a 10.5% increase in the percentage of youth in Clay County who have ever tried electronic vaping. Read More

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Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco “Leave Their Mark” at Regional SWAT Training
November 5, 2016

Hurricane Matthew may have caused a delay in the originally scheduled Regional SWAT Retreat, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of our SWAT youth during the make-up meeting held on November 5, 2016 in Palatka, Florida. Adrianna Belle and Tasha Kent, two of our top students from Wilkinson Junior High School, attended to represent the SWAT Chapter of Clay County. The morning was kicked off with interactive icebreaker activities to introduce themselves to other Region 2 SWAT members and to get to know them for the remaining of the day filled with group activities.


Wilkinson Junior High SWAT Club Members Tasha Kent and Adrianna Belle,
and SWAT Coordinator, Joy Moritz

One of the first topics of discussion at the training was time management. It allowed the SWAT members time to reflect on how to better manage their time and, included an exercise to figure out where most of their time was being spent. This was an excellent tool for them to use in their personal lives, but also a unique way to look at their time management of SWAT events, meeting etc.

Another large portion of the meeting was spent hearing from prospective YAB (youth advocacy board) candidates. “It was impressive to see the students stand up in front of everyone and profess their desire to be the head and the voice of tobacco issues in the state,” said Joy Moritz, SWAT Coordinator for Clay County. Read More

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The Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Program is Growing!
September 20, 2016

SWAT Coordinator, Joy Moritz, was hard at work this summer prepping Clay County SWAT for the 2016-2017 school year. We had seven returning clubs and three new clubs which brings us to our goal of ten total clubs!


Clay County Tobacco Prevention Specialist (L) and Clay County SWAT Coordinator Joy Moritz (R)

The following schools are hosting a SWAT club this school year:  

Students Working Against Tobacco works to change the social norms associated with tobacco use. This means we want to change the way people think about tobacco… making it less desirable, less acceptable and less accessible. Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County appoints 2016-2017 Advisory Council
September 8, 2016

ORANGE PARK, FL — The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County has appointed its 2016-2017 Advisory Council.  Advisory Council members assume a leadership role in regard to tobacco control, advocacy, education, prevention and policy change in Clay County.

Chief Gary Goble of the Orange Park Police Department, Jose Morales of the Clay County Health Department, and Skylar Jade a Senior from Orange Park High School SWAT are returning to the Advisory Council again this year. Stephanie Geoghagan with the Clay Action Coalition and Annalea Rix a Junior from Middleburg High School SWAT are new to the Advisory Council this year.


From L to R: Chief Gary Goble, Jose Morales, Stephanie Geoghagan, Skylar Jade, Annalea Rix

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County is dedicated to the creation of tobacco-free social norms through a combination of community education, youth advocacy, and changes in local tobacco policies.  The mission of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County reflects the goals of the CDC Best Practices, especially in regards to changes in local tobacco policies to create and promote tobacco-free social norms.

For more information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County, contact Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County, Lea Rhoden, at LRhoden@QuitDoc.com.

 

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The Tobacco Free Partnership Congratulates Our Graduating Students Working Against Tobacco Members
May 27, 2016

Congratulations to our Clay County SWAT Seniors! On Friday, May 27, 2016, our Students Working Against Tobacco program had 40 students graduate at 4 of the Clay County high schools. Thank you to our amazing club advisors for their hard work and dedication!

Orange Park High School – 21 Graduating Seniors (SWAT Advisor: Christine Jump)


Ridgeview High School – 3 Graduating Seniors (SWAT Advisor: Andrew Sadlo)

Middleburg High School – 12 Graduating Seniors (SWAT Advisor: Angela Matthew)

Oakleaf High School – 4 Graduating Seniors (SWAT Advisor: Dalphine Tillman)

We wish our SWAT members, along with all of their classmates, good luck as they close one chapter of their life and begin to open another one!

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QuitDoc Foundation Welcomes Joy Moritz as the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Coordinator in Clay County
May 20, 2016

The QuitDoc Foundation recently named Joy Moritz as the SWAT Coordinator of Clay County.

Joy is a lifelong resident of Clay County and loves her community. Joy and her husband stay busy with their 3 boys participating in football, basketball, and church events. They support and help out the community in any way they can. Joy feels it's important to be involved in a child's life and support them in every way possible. She also feels it's important that children know they have a great support system at home and in the community.

 

"I cannot wait to start working for SWAT and playing a bigger part of the Clay County community," said Joy, "especially with the students and staff of the Clay County School District. I look forward to getting more and more students involved in our community, educating them on tobacco products, and supporting them in every way possible.” 

One of Joy’s responsibilities while working at the Clerk of Courts office was taking care of tobacco citations that were issued to minors. This really opened her eyes to how many of our youth were using tobacco products. She is determined to help our youth become more aware of the harmful effects of tobacco. Read More

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Local Tobacco Free Partnerships Take Their Message to the Jacksonville Suns
May 2, 2016

On Monday, May 2, 2016, The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County and Tobacco Free Jacksonville partnered with the Jacksonville Suns baseball team to participate in the Charity Begins at Home program.

It was a great opportunity to spread the message of the “Knock Tobacco Out of the Park” Campaign and Tobacco Free Florida Week. Community partners from both Clay and Duval Counties attended the game with complimentary tickets as a thank you for their support of the programs.

Orange Park High School Senior and Students Working Against Tobacco Youth Advocacy Board member, Ashely Penafiel, threw out the first pitch.

“I am excited about this partnership and look forward to doing it again. When we work together across county lines and in the community, we can make a greater impact in the fight against tobacco,” stated Lea Rhoden. Lea is the Community Health Advocate for the QuitDoc Foundation in Clay County and she organized the event, working with Andrea Williams, Director of Community Relations for the Jacksonville Suns to recognize the organizations and their community partners. 

 

We are already looking forward to visiting the Jacksonville Suns again in 2017!

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Clay County Tobacco Free Partnership Members and Students Working Against Tobacco Youth are Working on a New Point of Sale Project!
March 14, 2016

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.

Tobacco Free Partnership members and SWAT youth have assessed 139 stores in Clay County to gain more information and data on the marketing of these products. The stores are being assessed with a store mapper tool provided by CounterTools.org. The Store Mapper is an interactive mapping website that allows advocates to find and display local tobacco retailer data. The Mapper also analyzes and displays relationships between tobacco retail and other important locations such as youth venues (schools and parks), and between neighborhood variables such as tobacco retailer density and level of household poverty. Read More

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Smokeless Tobacco Use Remains High in Clay County
QuitDoc Foundation and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 2, 2016

CLAY COUNTY, 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, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) and QuitDoc Foundation are hosting a “Through With Chew Week” Pledge Drive in Clay County at Middleburg High School, Orange Park Junior High School, and Orange Park High School on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016. This pledge drive will allow students to commit to being through with smokeless tobacco as well as other tobacco and e-cigarette products.

Although youth cigarette smoking rates in Florida are at an all-time low, 10.7 percent of high school students in Clay County reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2014, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. These results are well above 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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Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco Attend Regional Training and Leadership Conference
October 5, 2015

The Region 2 Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) held their annual meeting on September 26 at the Thrasher Horne Conference Center in Orange Park.

“Piece of the Puzzle, Part of the Whole” was the theme for the meeting this year. The students learned how each county can be like a puzzle piece, coming together to make the whole state of Florida better for tobacco prevention.

  Puzzle Theme

Three local high school students represented Clay County at the meeting: Erykah Maxwell from Oak Leaf High School; Ashley Penafiel from Orange Park High School; and Roddra Johnson from Oak Leaf High School. During the meeting, Ashley Penafiel was also elected to the Youth Advocacy Board where she will represent Clay County and Region 2 at the state level.

For more information on Clay County SWAT Chapter, contact Lea Rhoden, Clay County Tobacco Prevention Specialist, at LRhoden@QuitDoc.com.

  SWAT Youth

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County appoints 2015-2016 Advisory Council
October 1, 2015

ORANGE PARK, FL — The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County has appointed its 2015-2016 Advisory Council.  Advisory Council members assume a leadership role in regard to tobacco control and advocacy, education, and prevention and policy change in Clay County.

This year’s advisory council members include Chief Gary Goble of the Orange Park Police Department, Jose Morales of the Clay County Health Department, Callan Bell with Take Stock in Children, and Ashley Penafiel and Skylar Jade from Orange Park High School SWAT.

Advisory BoardChief Goble, OPPD     Jose Morales, CCHD       Callan Bell, TSIC       Skylar Jade, SWAT   Ashley Penafiel, SWAT

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County is dedicated to the creation of tobacco-free social norms through a combination of community education, youth advocacy, and changes in local tobacco policies.  The mission of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County reflects the goals of the CDC Best Practices, especially in regards to changes in local tobacco policies to create and promote tobacco-free social norms.

For more information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County, contact Lea Rhoden, Partnership Facilitator, at LRhoden@QuitDoc.com.

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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

FYTS 2015 Trend Data

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Melissa McGlynn Joins QuitDoc Foundation as the Clay County SWAT Coordinator
August 31, 2015

QuitDoc Foundation would like to introduce Melissa McGlynn as the new SWAT Coordinator of Clay County!

Melissa worked at Mayo Clinic for 5 years as a Patient Care Technician and Clinical Assistant before moving on as a Personal Trainer and Wellness Experience Maker for the YMCA. Living a healthy lifestyle and being involved in the community have been a big part of her life for many reasons. She has two children who attend Orange Park High School, one being a part of SWAT for the last three years. Melissa brings a lot of background knowledge as she has had the opportunity to watch young adults grow in Clay County by expressing what is important to them through meetings, community service, and attending City Council meetings. She has been able to experience this all with the help of the impactful OPHS SWAT Advisor, Christine Jump. Read More  
Melissa McGlynn

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Tobacco Free Partnership and SWAT Members Attend Clay County Back 2 School Bash
August 8, 2015

Clay County SWAT Students and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County attended the Back 2 School Bash and Resource Fair on Saturday, August 8th at Camp Blanding. The event was put on by the Family Readiness Group and it was open to all military families. The families visited vendor tables for back to school goodies and resources. The Partnership also held a drawing for an awesome basket of school supplies at our table. The families enjoyed food and games after collecting their supplies.

Back to School Bash
OPHS SWAT students Olivia Youhas, Helen Coutant & Skylar McGlynn and Lea Rhoden,
Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County at the Camp Blanding Back 2 School Bash

Along with handing out pencils, the students and partnership members educated the families on current tobacco issues and ways to quit. It was awesome to see them interact and inspire the event participants from different generations. Thank you to our Students Working Against Tobacco students for working so hard at our booth!

For more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership and SWAT, please contact Lea Rhoden at LRhoden@QuitDoc.com.

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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.

Liquid Nicotine Poisonings

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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Please Welcome Lea Rhoden, Our New Tobacco Prevention Specialist in Clay County!
July 1, 2015

QuitDoc Research and Education Foundation recently named Lea Rhoden as the Tobacco Prevention Specialist of Clay County, filling the void left by the departure of Joey O’Hern who will now be the Tobacco Prevention Specialist of Columbia County. Lea will also be responsible for facilitating the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County, a coalition of community leaders working together on tobacco issues that affect the residents of Clay County, particularly its most vulnerable residents: youth and senior citizens.   Lea Rhoden

Lea will have big shoes to fill! Her predecessor, Joey O’Hern, has built an amazingly strong coalition in Clay County during his 3 years of work with QuitDoc.

"I am very excited to be working for QuitDoc as the newest team member for Clay County," said Lea. “During the last 3 years, I have worked closely as a community partner with Joey O’hern, which will make for an exciting and smooth transition. I have been connected to Clay County for many years, working in the school district and spending a lot of time volunteering for many non-profits and serving on advisory councils. I am looking forward to continuing the education, prevention, and treatment of tobacco in the Clay County community."

Lea’s comes to QuitDoc from the American Cancer Society, where she was a Relay For Life Community Manager. As a Community Manager, she was responsible for 5 Relay for Life events in Clay County and Baker County. Lea managed these events by recruiting and training volunteers in the community. She worked closely with local businesses, schools, churches and other community organizations to bring awareness to the fight against cancer. This experience will be an asset as Lea works with businesses to create smoke-free campuses while promoting employer-based tobacco cessation programs. Read More

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Class of 2015 SWAT Youth Reflect on their Work in Clay County
May 29, 2015

Senior SWAT Members throughout Clay County reflected on what SWAT meant to them and shared some of their best memories from participating in such an influential and dynamic school club.

Oakleaf High School

“Students Working Against Tobacco is an amazing club. Being president for two years was an outstanding accomplishment for myself. Experiencing the Summit during the summer of 2014 was one of the most memorable experiences for me. It enlightened me on the awareness of big tobacco companies and how they work. I became more alert of what was going on and paid closer attention to ads and their location. I used that information several times to tell family members and friends about how and why the ads were used.”-Tanzania Withers

SDCC

Orange Park High School

“Having family who have passed away from cancer related illnesses really makes SWAT hit home to me. I am very thankful to have been in SWAT and very happy to in some small way, been able to honor my family members.”--Destiny Hartin

Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership Tells Middleburg Students That
They are #NotAReplacement
May 15, 2015

On May 15, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County participated in the 2015 Student Health Expo sponsored by the Clay County Health Department.

This year the event was held at Middleburg High School where over 1700 students attend regularly. The Tobacco Free Partnership was excited to use the opportunity to further promote and educate the most recent Kick Butts Day campaign,"Not A Replacement".

Roughly 440,000 people die each year from a tobacco-related disease. In order for the tobacco industry to survive, they need to replace their dying customers with new long-term smokers. 85% of these new tobacco users start between 12-17 years of age... Read More

#NotAReplacement

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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.

School Bus

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.

The results of the study showed that some school policies are indeed correlated with lower student tobacco use.  The findings suggest that schools should create a school-wide anti-tobacco message and culture.  This could include being sure students know the school tobacco policy, as well as giving students the message only a small percentage of adults actually use tobacco... Read More 

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Early Goodbye!
By Joey O'Hern, March 29 , 2015

For those of you who may have missed the March Tobacco Free Partnership meeting I shared that after 3 years of working with the Clay County Tobacco Prevention Program, I've accepted a position with the Columbia County Tobacco Prevention Program. 

The work we’ve able to accomplish during these past three years has been tremendously successful. Clay County became the first county in the state of Florida to pass ordinances regulating the sale of electronic cigarettes, setting the bar for other tobacco programs throughout the state. Our Students Working Against Tobacco Program has grown tremendously and consists of three high school clubs and one junior high club. These clubs are full of students from who are educated and engaged when it comes to tobacco prevention.

Joey O'Hern

Lastly, through participation in numerous community events, such as the Clay County Agricultural Fair, Clay Chamber Teacher Appreciation Fair, Orange Park Kids Fest, and many more, close to 30,000 community members in Clay County have been educated on tobacco use. This is all because of the great support from many elected officials, community members, school administrators, etc. in Clay County! Read More

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Clay County Fair Expands "Breath Easy Zones"
March 24 , 2015

As the citizens of Clay County once again prepare for the Clay County Agricultural Fair to roll into town the Tobacco Free Partnership has partnered with the fair to provide updated “Breathe Easy Zone” signage.

This is the 29th year of the fair and attendance is expected to hit 1150,000!

“Not only is the fair a staple of the community here in Clay County but in North Florida as well. Anyway we can partner with the fair to make it a more family friendly event is something we are interested in doing,” commented Joseph O’Hern the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County Facilitator. Read More

Clay County Fair Signs

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QuitDoc Awarded Tobacco Prevention Grant for Clay 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 Clay 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

2014 FYTS Youth Rates

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County Educates Local Lawmakers on Tobacco Prevention Efforts
December 16, 2014

Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Charles Van Zant and Reprehensive Travis Cummings met with residents of Clay County on December 16, 2014. The annual legislative delegation hearing was held at the Clay County Administration Building and provided a great opportunity for the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County to update local decision makers of the Partnership’s successes.

Clay Legislative Delegation
Senator Rob Bradley (L) and Representative Charles Van Zant (R) meet the citizens of Clay County

The Clay County Tobacco Prevention Program has been immensely successful since it’s implementation in 2008. Since Quit Doc became the fiscal agent for the Partnership, “Over 10,000 community members and 400 of Clay County educators have been educated on Big Tobacco”, explained Joseph O’Hern, the Clay County Tobacco Prevention Specialist.

The Partnership also shared that the SWAT Chapter in Clay County is working on reducing usage and exposure to tobacco products through many avenues and initiatives. The two main issues that the organization is working on are reducing youth exposure to secondhand smoke and restricting the marketing and sale of flavored tobacco products that entice youth and young adults to become addicted to tobacco... Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County and Students Working Against Tobacco Celebrate the Great American Smokeout
November 20, 2014

The 39th Annual Great American Smokeout was held on November 20, 2014. The American Cancer Society marks this day every year on the third Thursday of November by encouraging smokers to decide on that day to make a plan to quit, or to plan in advance and quit smoking that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will be taking an important step towards a healthier life. The decision could lead to reducing cancer risk.

Clay County SWAT
Orange Park High School SWAT Celebrate the Great American Smokeout

Every day nearly 4,000 kids under 18 try their first cigarette and 1,000 kids under 18 years old become daily smokers. That equals more than 1 million teens a year. Smoking in the U.S. kills more people than alcohol, AIDS, car accidents, illegal drugs, murders, and suicides combined with thousands more dying from smokeless tobacco!

Clay County SWAT Students used the day to educate students and school district staff on the hazards of tobacco and the benefits of quitting. SWAT students made eye catching and informational displays throughout their schools. One example is the display on one of the classroom doors at Oakleaf Junior High School.

For more information on tobacco cessation resources available in Clay County, contact Joseph O’Hern at johern@quitdoc.com.

GASO Display

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Tobacco Industry Whistle-Blower, Dr. Victor DeNoble, Visits Clay County
September 16, 2014

Just recently The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County with the help of the Clay County SWAT youth hosted presentations by tobacco prevention expert Dr. Victor DeNoble at both Orange Park High School and Oakleaf High School where he educated close to 750 students on the consequences of nicotine addiction.

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.
Students and staff at both high schools were amazed by the presentation, which included some of the evidence that proved nicotine changes the human brain. Dalphine Tillman, SWAT Sponsor at Oakleaf High School called DeNoble’s presentation “captivating” and “entertaining” as well. She also commented, “Students here at Oakleaf High School were very impressed and are asking if he can return.” Read More

Victor DeNoble

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Local Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Youth Attend Regional Training
September 13, 2014

In mid-September two SWAT youth from Oakleaf High School attending the Region 2 SWAT training giving them the chance to become even more educated on all things tobacco prevention. During the training the SWAT youth 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.

Two SWAT youth gave a presentation “Tobacco 2.0, Making Tobacco History” that covered where tobacco prevention is heading in the future and highlighted some of the most recent changes.  The presenters highlighted CVS Health’s decision to no longer stock or sell tobacco products.  Many students shared how their SWAT Clubs were thanking local CVS pharmacies for that great change.

The presentation also highlighted all of the counties in Florida that have adopted electronic cigarette policies including Clay County. The passing of the State of Florida’s age restriction on electronic cigarettes was cheered but the need for stricter regulation on advertising and the use of flavored nicotine products was noted... Read More

SWAT Training

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County Reflects
on its Recent Successes

June 18 , 2014

As yet another fiscal year for the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County wraps up, it’s always good to look back on the successes the Partnership had during the year as we prepare for the future! 

The Partnership started out the year eager and strong in September, with an Advisory Council being composed of a wide range of agencies as well as youth representation. 

Overall the year was filled with many successes. In both the Town of Orange Park and the City of Green Cove Springs progress was made as ordinances were passed in both communities that prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to youth as well limiting e-cig use in public spaces and restricting them from being self service; both of these successes were championed by members of the Tobacco Free Partnership.

Our Students Working Against Tobacco clubs continued to have an active presence in their respective communities, even receiving a proclamation recognizing “Kick Butts Day” in Orange Park as well participating in various community events and cigarette butt clean ups! Read More

Ridgeway HS

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Public Housing Residential Buildings in Clay County Are Going Smoke-Free
Policies Protect Residents From Secondhand Smoke and Smoking-Related Fires
June 9 , 2014

Green Cove Spring , FL – 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.”

“There’s a fear of alienating resident smokers, but most communities that have taken the leap consider smoke-free housing an edge over the competition and have determined that there is a market for this product’ according to Chip Tatum, the former Government Affairs Director for the Florida Apartment Association...
Read More

SFMUH Inofgraphic

 

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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

Florida Youth Advocates of the Year

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Clay County Teens Tell Big Tobacco:
I am Not a “Replacement”

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.”

KBD Palm Card

This Kick Butts Day, Clay County’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) spoke up and took action to let Big Tobacco know they will be not replacements. Kick Butts Day, which was held on March 19, is the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids national day of activism that empowers youth to fight back against Big Tobacco.

For each smoking-related death, at least two youth or young adults become regular smokers each day. These young people rarely consider the long-term health consequences of smoking when they start. Because of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, three out of four youth continue smoking well into adulthood, often with serious and even deadly consequences. In fact, about half of long-term smokers will die prematurely from smoking-related causes... Read More

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Representatives from the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County attend CADCA Conference in Washington, DC
February 6, 2014

February 3-6, 2014, prevention experts from Clay County attended the “Community Anti-Drug coalitions of America” (CADCA) National Leadership Forum that is held yearly in Washington D.C. During their empowering and informative trip they were provided the opportunity meet with State Legislators to discuss issues they felt were important.

Joseph O’Hern and Heather Sciartelli, from the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County, joined Ms. Sealy and Stephanie Geoghagan as representatives of Clay Action Coalition.

Clay County prevention staff met with the offices of Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Marco Rubio and also met with Representative Ted Yoho personally to discuss their success in Clay County... Read More

Clay County Prevention Staff meet Rep. Ted Yoho
From L to R: Joey O'Hern (Clay County Tobacco Prevention Specialist), Ms. Sealy (Clay Action Coalition), Representative Ted Yoho, and Heather Sciartelli (Clay County SWAT Coordinator)

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Orange Park Passes E-Cig Ordinance
December 3 , 2013

On December 3, 2013 the town of Orange Park passed and ordinance placing new restrictions on the sale and use of electronic cigarettes. The vote took place after a longer process than usual, which included numerous public hearings and modifications to the language of the ordinance. Councilman Steve Howard made the motion to pass the ordinance with Vice-Mayor Marge Hutton seconded. The council then passed the amended ordinance by a vote of 5 to 0, changing the way the city treats electronic cigarettes.

The ordinance will ban the sale of e-cigarettes to people younger than 18, restrict e-cigarette use to areas where tobacco smoking is allowed, and change the way that those products are displayed requiring they no longer be self service products.

Clay County passed a similar ordinance back in May that did not apply to municipalities... Read More

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Great American Smokeout Celebrated in Keystone Heights High School
November 21, 2013

Keystone Heights - Members of the Keystone Heights High School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Club celebrated the American Cancer Society’s Annual Great American Smokeout on November 21, 2013.

Activities included creating a “CSI” mystery crime scene in their front office, banners and posters that discouraged students from using tobacco, a “birthday party” centerpiece in the staff lounge and numerous tobacco facts announced through the day.

SWAT members also encouraged tobacco users to quit for the day.  “Making the posters and banners was a lot of fun,” says SWAT member Ann Roberts. “It didn’t take very long to create and it was a unique way to show other students what we do as a SWAT club.” Read More

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Aser Civilus Named Clay County Student Volunteer of the Year
November 19, 2013

Fleming Island - Aser Civilus, Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) member and State SWAT Youth Advocacy Board Representative, was named the Student Volunteer of the Year by the School District of Clay County.

This marks the third year in a row that a Clay County SWAT leader receives this award! Other SWAT members receiving this honor are Tyler Jump in 2011 and Haley Geeser in 2012.

Aser Civilus is a senior at Orange Park High School where he is a 2nd year SWAT member. He began his involvement with the organization through the OPHS SWAT Club. Aser quickly assumed leadership roles within the Clay County SWAT organization, and most recently he was elected to the state of Florida's SWAT Youth Advocacy Board, serving as one of 3 representatives from the North Florida region... Read More

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Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco Representative Speaks to Clay County Legislative Delegation
November 18, 2013

Green Cove Springs - Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) member Joseph Pierre spoke on behalf of the Clay County SWAT Chapter at the annual Clay County Legislative Delegation meeting. The meeting was attended by many county officials and community organizations.

After a week of preparation, Pierre was ready to promote the SWAT program. Mr. Pierre spoke to State Representatives Charles Van Zant and Travis Cummings, in addition to State Senator Rob Bradley, on the goals and structure of the Clay County SWAT Program.

"I was nervous, but also really excited," recalls Mr. Pierre. "I know that speaking to our elected officials is very important because we want them to understand how we, as kids, are able to make a difference in our community.” Read More

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City of Green Cove Springs Passes Ordinance to Restrict Youth Access to Electronic Cigarettes
November 5, 2013

On November 5, 2013 the City Council of Green Cove Springs voted unanimously to pass an ordinance regulating the sale, marketing, and use of electronic cigarettes throughout the City of Green Cove Springs.

The recently passed ordinance prohibits the sell of e-cigs to minors, places the products behind the counter requiring retailer-assisted sales, and restricts the use of e-cigs in public places where smoking is already banned. This ordinance falls in line with the Clay County ordinance that was passed earlier in the year.

The action taken by the City of Green Cove Springs to regulate electronic cigarettes illustrates the growing public health concern around these products. This action demonstrates local governments taking measures to protect its youth from nicotine addiction and to de-normalize the act of smoking, whether by traditional or electronic means... Read More

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Frequently-Asked Questions About E-Cigarettes
By Tracy DeCubellis, M.S., Gilchrist County Tobacco Prevention Specialist
September 20, 2013

Recently, many people have come to me with questions about an emerging product on the market called e-cigarettes.  There has been a lot of confusion about e-cigarettes, and most people have limited information gathered from advertisements or word of mouth from friends. I have put together the most frequently asked questions about e-cigarettes, along with the answers, to inform communities with currently updated information. 

What is an e-cigarette?
An e-cigarette is a battery-powered nicotine delivery device that contains a cartridge filled with what the manufacturers often call “liquid”.  This “liquid” often includes candy flavoring, nicotine, and chemicals to create a “vapor”.  Most e-cigarette companies offer cartridges of differing nicotine levels, although no testing has been conducted to verify those claims. 

Are e-cigarettes considered tobacco?
The FDA has jurisdiction over tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009, and has stated the intent to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product... Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County Holds the First Meeting of the New Year
September 19 , 2013

Recently The Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County held it’s first meeting of the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The Partnership will be working on several initiatives to reduce youth access to tobacco products, to reduce illnesses and exposure to secondhand smoke, and to promote tobacco cessation services throughout the county.

“Our goal this year is to be have a bigger presence throughout Clay County and play a more active part in the different communities,” commented Joseph O’Hern, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist for Clay County.  O’Hern also serves as the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County facilitator... Read More

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Clay SWAT Youth Elected to State Students Working Against Tobacco Youth Advocacy Board
September 14, 2013

ORANGE PARK, FL- Orange Park High School senior Aser Civilus was recently elected among North Florida Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) members to serve on the Florida SWAT Youth Advocacy Board.

Aser is one of three youth elected to represent SWAT members from 21 northeastern counties. A veteran SWAT member, Aser plans to assist county SWAT chapters in implementing effective communication and outreach strategies that bring more youth in the SWAT organization... Read More ___________________________________________________________________

Clay County Supervisor of Elections Partners
with Clay County Student Working Against Tobacco
September 14, 2013

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, FL- Clay County Supervisor of Elections Office recently partnered with the Clay County SWAT program to facilitate the State SWAT Youth Advocacy Board elections.

Each year, a regional SWAT training brings together 21 Northeast Florida counties to learn about tobacco industry marketing tactics, develop leadership skills and annually elect representatives to serve on the SWAT Youth Advocacy Board. This year the regional training was held in Clay County and brought the unique opportunity to partner with the Supervisor of Elections Office... Read More

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Orange Park High School SWAT Club Tackles Myths
About Hookah Tobacco
September 9, 2013

ORANGE PARK, FL- The Orange Park High School SWAT club recently hosted a “myth-busting” meeting regarding hookah tobacco use on September 9, 2013.

Participants were asked to decide if statements made about hookah were true or false--such as “Smoking hookah is safer because it does not contain nicotine” or “Using hookah is better because the smoke is cooled in the water”.

OPHS SWAT Club Sponsor Christine Jump was surprised at some of the misconceptions students had. “I just assumed that most of my youth understood that hookah is still tobacco and is addictive,” she said. “I really was shocked at the number of students who admitted to trying hookah on one or more occasion.” Read More

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Ordinance to Regulate Electronic Cigarettes Passed by Clay County Board of County Commissioners
May 14 , 2013

On May 14, 2013, the Clay County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed an ordinance creating rules on the marketing, sale, and use of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) that are comparable to the rules in place for other tobacco products.

The Clay County Ordinance is the first of its kind in Florida, and is a response to a 2010 Federal Court case granting the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the right to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009. Read More

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SWAT Students from Clay County Contribute to "Who is the Target?", a Short Film on Youth Tobacco Marketing
April 24, 2013

Students from six counties in North Central Florida joined forces to write and produce "Who is the Target", a short film that focuses on the use of flavored products as a youth marketing strategy by tobacco companies.

Fourteen Students from Alachua, Clay, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, and Marion Counties were asked to contribute facts and information on the issue of flavored tobacco products that are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The students then recorded the information at a make-shift studio. Clay County SWAT students Aser Civilus, Haley Geeser, Darryl Smack, and Jessica Klidies participated in the project... Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership Learns Additional Information
About Electronic Cigarettes

March 21, 2013

Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are essentially nicotine-delivery devices that are relatively new but are gaining a massive following. The battery-powered devices provide inhaled doses of nicotine through a vaporized solution contained in cartridges inserted into the apparatus. No smoke or combustion is involved; the device emits a vapor when used. Often times the use of an e-cig is referred to “vaping”.

In April 2001, after a Federal Court ruled that the FDA did not have the authority to regulate e-cigarettes as drugs or drug delivery devices, the FDA announced plans to regulate e-cigarettes as a tobacco product under the Tobacco Control Act in accordance with the Federal Court ruling... Read More

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HEAR YE, HEAR YE!
Green Cove Springs proclaims March 20th as Kick Butts Day

March 19, 2013

Three members of the Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Chapter attended the City of Green Cove Springs city council meeting on March 19, 2013 to receive a proclamation from Mayor Pam Lewis declaring March 20, 2013 as Kick Butts Day.

In order to continue to bring awareness of the predatory tobacco industry marketing of candy-flavored tobacco products, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Clay County and the SWAT youth asked the city council to publicly recognize the nation-wide annual Kick Butts Day created by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. Kick Butts Day is a day for youth advocates to “Stand up, Speak out & Seize control against Big Tobacco.”
Read More

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Members of Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco Chapter Attend Regional Spring Training in Daytona Beach
March 2, 2013

On Saturday, March 2nd, Clay County SWAT youth attended a SWAT regional spring training in Daytona Beach, FL.

The day-long training gave our SWAT youth “MAD Skills”! MAD stands for Message, Audience, Delivery, and is a community event planning template that allows youth to make sure their message is heard loud and clear by the right people... Read More

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Clay County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Recognize Through With Chew Week
February 17-23, 2013

All it takes is a pinch!

That was the slogan for the Clay County SWAT Through with Chew week activity. Through With Chew Week is a nation-wide tobacco prevention celebration in February that calls to create awareness on the dangers of spit tobacco. SWAT students created an activity that had youth getting the dirty low-down on the effects of spit tobacco... Read More

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Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation Awarded
Tobacco Prevention Grant for Clay County

The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation has been awarded a grant from the State of Florida Department of Health to provide tobacco awareness and prevention programs throughout Clay 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... Read More