News and Events

Martin County High School Student Cakes a Creative Impact with Anti-Smoking Bookmarks
June 5, 2017

When the Martin County High School SWAT Advisor and art teachers approached Ignacio Valdez with a challenge – to create a bookmark with a message to prevent students from smoking – his creativity and talent surpassed all expectations!

Ignacio didn’t just address the dangers of traditional cigarette smoking, but his designs communicated the dangers of smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes – both of rising concern among high school youth in Martin County.

In all, nine designs were produced with stunning artwork that makes a big impact.  From the toothless grin warning of the dangers of chew to the “Honestly, It’s Still Addictive” e-cigarette image, each bookmark includes a list of facts on the back to help warn students of the dangers of tobacco products and prevent more students from initiating in tobacco use.

In addition to the tobacco prevention bookmarks, Ignacio raised the bar by creating a series of “Character Counts!” images as well.  His artwork packs a powerful message, modeling positive behaviors and preventing dangerous drug, tobacco and alcohol use.

Ignacio was recognized on May 18 at the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County banquet, where he was named Martin County High School’s SWAT Youth of the Year and was presented with his award by teacher Mrs. Aronof and Dr. Barry Hummel of the QuitDoc Foundation.  Mrs. Aronof shared words of his great accomplishments on the campus, where his bookmarks will be distributed to every student in the media center, and each of the banquet’s attendees went home with an Ignacio Valdez original bookmark warning them of the dangers of tobacco use.

   

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Local Tobacco Prevention Issues
May 18, 2017

On May 18, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting.
    
The Tobacco Prevention Awards are presented each year to groups or individuals who have made an exceptional contribution towards the goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership.

Sandhill Cove was recognized for their successful implementation of tobacco free workplace and residency policy.  They adopted a tobacco free grounds policy in early 2017 and have seen a positive response from both their residents and employees.

Shannon Nazzal was recognized for her efforts in aiding youth sports leagues throughout Martin County in their adoption of tobacco free policies.  As a result, many leagues in the county voluntarily went tobacco free, avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke for their young athletes.    

Read More

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Winners of Local Anti-Tobacco Radio Public Service Announcement Contest Announced on April 14, 2016
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., QuitDoc Foundation

On April 11, 2017, the winners of a local anti-tobacco radio PSA contest were announced during a live broadcast of the Coaches Corner radio show on WSTU-AM 1450.

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored by WSTU/WPSL-AM Radio, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County. The contest gives local youth the opportunity to create their own 30-second radio and video PSAs highlighting youth tobacco issues. Middle and high school students throughout the Treasure Coast are invited to submit entries.

The finalists in the radio contest were selected by local radio personalities and tobacco control staff. The finalists were then judged by members of the Orlando Magic radio broadcast teams. The broadcasters ranked the finalists and selected the First, Second, and Third Place Winners.

First place was awarded to "Don't Smoke". The PSA was produced by the Murray Middle School SWAT Club. The spot was written and recorded by SWAT members Anastasia Avitable, Talan Bello, Quincy Clark, Lizet Diaz, Chaeyenne Dollin-Galloway, Sariah Favors, Brooke Hawkins, Valery Mejia, Alexes Mijares, Arya Patel, Elliot Steward, and Anaya Thronton.   Murray Middle School SWAT Advisor Cynthia Bishop and SWAT Member Arya Patel discuss their entry.


Stuart Middle School SWAT Members describe selecting the song for their PSA.

Second place was awarded to "Open Up Your Mind". The PSA was written and recorded by members of the Stuart Middle School SWAT Club, including MaKayla Boyle, Brisa Huerta, Rose Rooney, Genesis Toc-Monrroy, Patrick Ward, and Victories Vieux.
Read More

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Local SWAT Youth make a BIG difference in Martin County
March 2, 2017

Local SWAT Youth are kicking off 2017 with a bang!  They have been hard at work participating in programs and activities throughout Martin County, making a BIG impact to counteract BIG tobacco.

The Murray Middle School SWAT Club was busy this January doing a “Campus Clean-up.”  With disposable PolyGloves on their hands, they cheerfully and enthusiastically picked up litter all around their campus at Murray Middle School.  The campus looks great and they got a great feeling of accomplishment. Along with advocating a healthy lifestyle by being tobacco free, they also advocate a healthy and clean environment.


Members that participated in the Murray Middle School Campus Cleanup were: Top row-Quincy Clark, Gabby Ramos, Lexie Palaskas, Anaya Thornton, Brooke Hawkins, Lizet Diaz, Valery Mejia, and Cheyenne Dillon-Galloway; Kneeling- Alexes Mijares, Elliott Steward, and Sariah Favors.

Three Clubs – Stuart Middle School, Murray Middle School, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County – headed to the Martin County Fair this February to spread the word on Through With Chew Week.  Through With Chew Week, which took place February 19-25 this year, is a national activism effort that helps spread awareness about the dangers of smokeless tobacco.  SWAT Youth took to the fair to distribute information on the event, where they setup a display with handmade posters, educational displays and more. Read More

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Remembering Tobacco Free Partnership Member Charlie Nail
February 10, 2017

It is with great sadness that we recently lost a long-time member and supporter of the Martin County tobacco prevention program, Charlie Nail, after his long battle with cancer.

Charlie is among the founding members of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County.  He devoted many years to educating young people about the dangers of tobacco and to helping those who suffered with cancer, particularly those with laryngectomies.


Charlie Nail (L) with his long-time friend, Russ Buhl.

Countless children in Martin County frequently recall his visits to their classrooms and youth programs, where he shared his story to help prevent future generations of tobacco use.  His warm and caring nature left a lasting impression.  This past summer, when he was unable to join tobacco prevention staff on his usual trip to the Martin Health Scrub Camp due to his health, return campers, parents, and hospital staff all inquired after him and fondly recalled the words he shared the previous summer.

His laryngectomy caused him to speak with a whisper, but his message and his presence were loud and clear. He was the kind of volunteer every organization strives to have – passionate. Read More

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QuitDoc Foundation and Tobacco Free Florida are raising awareness during “Through with Chew Week”
February 10, 2017

STUART, Fla. – QuitDoc Foundation 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. 5.8% percent of high school youth in Martin 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, QuitDoc Foundation, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County and Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) groups from Stuart Middle School, Murray Middle School and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County will be educating community members and spreading the word about Through With Chew Week at the Martin County Fair on Feb. 10 and Feb. 17.
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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QuitDoc Foundation Partners with WSTU-AM and WPSL-AM for the Annual Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest
January 12, 2017

For the ninth consecutive year, the QuitDoc Foundation has joined forces with local radio stations WSTU-AM and WPSL AM to provide local youth with a contest to create anti-tobacco radio and television public service announcements.

Middle and high school students can create 30-second radio or video spots addressing one of the following areas:

The contest is open to all Middle and High School students in Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties. The entry deadline for both the radio and the video contest is March 7, 2017. Finalists will be judged by members of the Orlando Magic broadcast teams. Winners will be announced during a live radio broadcast on April 4, 2017. Winners will air on local radio and television.

You can click here to download informational flyers for both the Radio Contest and the Video Contest. You can also download a Registration Form here as well.

You can also read about last year's contest winners here.

For additional information, contact Dr. Barry Hummel at BHummel@QuitDoc.com

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Murray Middle School SWAT Club “Blows Bubbles” at This Year’s Hobe Sound Christmas Parade
December 3, 2016

SWAT Youth from the Murray Middle School SWAT Club took to the streets of Hobe Sound to encourage tobacco-free lifestyles at the 31st Annual Hobe Sound Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 3.

Their theme for the parade was “Blow Bubbles, Not Smoke” and they marched in front of over 5,000 residents while blowing bubbles and chanting tobacco-free songs and messages, crafted by the students themselves.

The students, along with their advisor, Cynthia Bishop, joined Hobe Sound community clubs, officials and businesses spreading holiday cheer in Downtown Hobe Sound.

SWAT Clubs from Martin County have participated in the Hobe Sound Christmas Parade for the past four years, and these dedicated students have helped encourage thousands of children to remain tobacco free. Read More

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Martin County Youth Attend Regional Students Working Against Tobacco Training in Fort Lauderdale
November 12, 2016

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Advisor Michael Williams from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County brought two outstanding local SWAT Youth to a regional training opportunity in Fort Lauderdale on November 12.

Aristo Onassis and Jesus Perez, both members of The Club and leaders of their local SWAT Chapter, attended the training, where they learned a variety of new skills and provided valuable feedback on the work being done around the state to reduce the tobacco industry’s influence on young adults.

Seasoned members of their SWAT Club, Aristo and Jesus represented Martin County at the training and brought their own unique perspective to the day’s activities, which included an opening ceremony hosted by the St. Lucie County Chapter and the statewide Youth Advocacy Board elections for Region 4. Read More

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Tobacco Free Florida and Tobacco free Partnership of Martin County Encourage Tobacco Users to Quit on the Great American Smokeout on November 17.
November 11, 2016

WHO/WHAT:  In observance of the Great American Smokeout, sponsored by the American Cancer Society, Tobacco Free Florida and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County encourage tobacco users to use the day to make a quit plan or to plan in advance to quit smoking on that day – Nov. 17.

All throughout Martin County, local employers, including the Martin County library, Sandhill Cove and Palm City Millwork, host a free event to raise awareness about Tobacco Free Florida’s free and proven-effective resources available to Floridians to successfully quit. The “Quit Your Way” program provides users interested in quitting access to free tools, including a 2-Week Starter Kit of nicotine replacement patches, Text2Quit, Email Tips and a Quit Guide. They can choose as many as they need or use them in addition to Tobacco Free Florida’s Phone, Group and Web Quit services.
Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County appoints 2016-2017 Advisory Council
August 23, 2016

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

This year’s advisory council members include Julie McHenry of Tykes and Teens, Dr. Anita Cocoves of Martin County, Ralph Perrone of American Cancer Society, Ellie Nicholas, CDC Advocate, Joanne Kelly of Martin Health Systems, Maureen Ryan of the Martin County Health Department, Jackie Holfelder, freelance writer, Shannon Nazzal of Martin County Parks and Recreation, Dr. Presley Charles of the Martin County School District, Jolynn Whitten of Sandhill Cove and Jennifer Ahern of Children's Services Council of Martin County.


Our newest Advisory Council members, Jolynn Whitten (L) and Jennifer Ahern (R)

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin 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 Martin 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. Read More

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Counteracting Tobacco Marketing at Retailers in Martin County
July 31, 2016

Over the past year, volunteers and task force members have been working on a pilot project in Martin County with Counter Tools, an organization that provides technology tools, training, and technical assistance to public health practitioners and researchers who are working to enact and enforce policy, systems and environmental interventions to promote public health.

Task Force members have been working hard to assess over 150 retailers in Martin County, studying things like how they price tobacco products, where they are placed, and even access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  The assessment project took place over a course of six months, and volunteers visited stores all over Martin County that held tobacco retailer licenses to study how they were marketing and selling tobacco products.

What did they discover?
Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Local Tobacco Prevention Issues
May 11, 2016

On May 11, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting.

The Tobacco Prevention Awards are presented each year to groups or individuals who have made an exceptional contribution towards the goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership.

The City of Stuart and Martin County were both recognized for their support this in passing Proclamations for Through with Chew Week and Tobacco Free Florida Week this year.

Sandhill Cove and Martin County were recognized as a Community Partners of the Year for their work in creating the new, comprehensive language for their Tobacco Free Grounds and Workplace policies.  The Gehring Group was also recognized for their assistance in implementing tobacco free policies at the City of Stuart and other Martin County workplaces.

Shannon Nazzal with Martin County Parks and Recreation was recognized as a Community Partner of the Year.  As a Tobacco Free Partnership member, Nazzal has been instrumental in assisting community youth sports leagues in adopting tobacco free policies for their young athletes, coaches and spectators.

Dr. Anita Cocoves and Sharyn Krim from Martin County were recognized as Community Partners of the Year for their assistance in a year-long surveillance program with Counter Tools, a program designed to counteract tobacco marketing to youth at local retailers. Read More

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Winners of Local Anti-Tobacco Radio Public Service Announcement Contest Announced on April 14, 2016
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., QuitDoc Foundation

On April 14, 2016, the winners of a local anti-tobacco radio PSA contest were announced during a live broadcast of the Coaches Corner radio show on WSTU-AM 1450.

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored by WSTU/WPSL-AM Radio, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County. The contest gives local youth the opportunity to create their own 30-second radio and video PSAs highlighting youth tobacco issues. Middle and high school students throughout the Treasure Coast are invited to submit entries.


Host Mike Thomas prepares to interview the finalists on "The Coaches Corner".

Six entries were selected as finalists in the radio contest by local radio personalities and tobacco control staff. The finalists were then judged by members of the Orlando Magic radio broadcast teams. The broadcasters ranked the finalists and selected the First, Second, and Third Place Winners.

First place was awarded to "I Don't Love It". The PSA was produced by Kara Percival, Justine Jocks, and Celeste Lambert, students from Martin County High School.
Read More

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Martin County Youth Work Toward a Tobacco Free Future
March 16, 2016

STUART, Fla. – Martin County’s Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) spoke up and took action against the tobacco industry for the 21st annual Kick Butts Day on March 16. This national day of activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, empowers youth to fight back against Big Tobacco.

Every day, about 1,300 people in the United States die because of smoking. In response, the tobacco companies target a new generation of potential customers. 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.”

Youth and young adults rarely consider the long-term health consequences of smoking when they start. Because of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, three out of four youth smokers continue smoking well into adulthood, often with serious and even deadly consequences. In fact, about half of long-term smokers die prematurely from smoking-related causes. Read More

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Boys & Girls Clubs Students Working Against Tobacco Head to the Tobacco-Free Martin County Fair
February 21, 2016

This February, the Boys & Girls Club SWAT Club members headed to the Martin County Fair to celebrate the second year of the fair going tobacco free!

The Martin County fairgrounds implemented new tobacco free signage at the fair last year, specifying traditional cigarettes, as well as chew tobacco and electronic cigarettes.  The new tobacco free fair was well-received by the thousands of community members and families who attend the fair each year.

Tobacco use in public places, like the fair, can aid in increasing youth’s perception of tobacco as a normal substance to use.  This dangerous perception often leads to a minor’s own initiation of tobacco use.  Prohibiting use of cigarettes, chew tobacco, and electronic cigarettes at the fair had a tremendously positive result, with fewer youth exposed to tobacco use and the elimination of secondhand smoke exposure. Read More

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

STUART, 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, QuitDoc Foundation and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County are accepting a proclamation from the City of Stuart and Martin County proclaiming it Through With Chew Week.  These proclamations show the City and County commissioners support to preventing tobacco use among youth in Martin County.


From L to R: Martin County Commissioner Anne Scott, Martin County Tobaco Prevention Specialist Kim Nash, and Partnership Member Shannon Nazzal.

Although youth cigarette smoking rates in Florida are at an all-time low, 6.6 percent of high school students in Martin County reported current use of smokeless tobacco products in 2014, according to the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.  This is higher than 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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Murray Middle School SWAT Club spreads the word in Hobe Sound
December 8, 2015

The Murray Middle School SWAT Club participated in the Hobe Sound Elementary Health and Safety Fair and the Hobe Sound Christmas Parade this fall, spreading the word about why they pledge to stay tobacco free and why they won't become a replacement for the tobacco industry.

MMs Health Fair

On November 7, five dedicated and enthusiastic SWAT. Club members from Murray Middle School participated in the Hobe Sound Elementary School Health and Safety Fair, where they handed out brochures and anti-smoking items and explained how smoking cigarettes causes cancer and other health problems. The five students that attended the fair are Christian McClung, Anaya Thornton, Brooke Hawkins, Liset Diaz, and Gabby Ramos. Read More

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QuitDoc Foundation Partners with WSTU-AM and WPSL-AM for the Annual Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest
November 05, 2015

For the eighth consecutive year, the QuitDoc Foundation has joined forces with local radio stations WSTU-AM and WPSL AM to provide local youth with a contest to create anti-tobacco radio and television public service announcements.

Middle and high school students can create 30-second radio or video spots addressing one of the following areas:

The contest is open to all Middle and High School students in Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties. The entry deadline for both the radio and the video contest is February 24, 2016. Finalists will be judged by members of the Orlando Magic broadcast teams. Winners will be announced during a live radio broadcast on March 30, 2016. Winners will air on local radio and television.

You can click here to download informational flyers for both the Radio Contest and the Video Contest. You can also download a Registration Form here as well.

You can also read about last year's contest winners here.

For additional information, contact Dr. Barry Hummel at BHummel@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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Martin County’s Tobacco Prevention Program Identifies New Goal Areas
September 8, 2015

As the 2015-2016 fiscal year begins, the tobacco prevention program in Martin County has identified their new goal areas to promote tobacco free social norms in the community.

QuitDoc Foundation was awarded a grant in 2008 by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida to provide tobacco prevention programs in Martin County.  For the past 7 years, these programs have included youth prevention, such as the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs at each middle school, high school, and the Boys & Girls Clubs in Martin County, tobacco free workplaces, smoke-free multi-unit housing, and measures to counteract marketing of candy flavored tobacco products and retail advertising.  QuitDoc Foundation also facilitates the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County, which includes partners and stakeholders in the community.

This year marks the beginning of a new fiscal year and new areas of focus for the tobacco free program.  The program has partnered with Counter Tools, a non-profit provider of proprietary software tools, training, and technical assistance to facilitate policy changes affecting tobacco marketing in the retail environment.  This partnership will allow local tobacco prevention advocates to conduct surveillance of retail stores in Martin County that may be advertising tobacco to youth. 

The Martin County program will also focus on tobacco free worksites, growing on previous successes, such as the tobacco free workplace policy adopted by the City of Stuart.  Assistance will also be provided to housing properties with connected units, such as apartment complexes and retirement homes, in efforts to go tobacco free.

Leukoplakia

Another new area of focus this year is smokeless tobacco, including smokeless use at public places, events, and youth sports leagues.  The goal is to reduce youth use of smokeless tobacco throughout Martin County, a leading cause of oral cancers, gum disease, and tooth decay. Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County appoints 2015-2016 Advisory Council
September 2, 2015

STUART, FL — The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin 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 Martin County.

This year’s advisory council members include Julie McHenry of Tykes and Teens, Anita Cocoves of Martin County, Ralph Perrone of American Cancer Society, Ellie Nicholas, CDC Advocate, Joanne Kelly of Martin Health Systems, Maureen Ryan of the Martin County Health Department, Jim Vojcsik of United Way of Martin County, Jackie Holfelder, freelance writer, Shannon Nazzal of Martin County Parks and Recreation, Dr. Presley Charles of the Martin County School District, Celeste Lambert of Martin County High School SWAT, and Aina Brady of Jensen Beach High School SWAT.

TFP Advisory Board
Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Advisory Board (From L to R): Joanne Kelly, Jackie Holfelder, Maureen Ryan, Aina Brady, Celeste Lambert, Ralph Perrone, Jim Vojcsik, Julie McHenry, and Dr. Presley Charles.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin 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 Martin 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. Read More

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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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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Local Tobacco Prevention Issues
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On May 26, 2015, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting.

The Tobacco Prevention Awards are presented each year to groups or individuals who have made an exceptional contribution towards the goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership.
    
Community Champion Awards are given each year to individuals who spearhead the effort on a particular tobacco prevention initiative.

Superintendent Laurie Gaylord was named a Community Champion for her support and efforts to pass a comprehensive tobacco-free policy for the Martin County School District.  The new policy includes all 12 components of a Tobacco Free Policy recommended by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida, including enforcement, cessation referrals, inclusion of e-cigarettes, off-site school activities, and more.  Superintendent Gaylord’s efforts will prevent future generations of students from being exposed to tobacco use at all school activities, helping to decrease the number of youth who begin tobacco use.

Mike Lindgren and Robyn Vanover were recognized as a Community Partners of the Year for their work in creating the new, comprehensive language of the School District’s Tobacco Free Policy.  They’ve both been working on the new policy for over a year and their efforts have made a tremendous impact on the youth of Martin County. Read More

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Martin County High School Students Win Local Anti-Tobacco Video Public Service Announcement Contest
May 7, 2015

Two Martin County High School students took First Place in a local video contest promoting youth tobacco prevention.

The video clip, produced by Hanah Wallace and Jade Neumann, focused on the issue of role-modeling tobacco use in front of young children.


The Winning Entry in the 2015 Anti-Tobacco Video Contest

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored annually by WSTU Radio, the QuitDoc Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County. The contest gives local youth the opportunity to create their own 30-second video PSAs highlighting youth tobacco issues. Middle and high school students throughout the Treasure Coast were invited to submit entries. Read More

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Winners of Local Anti-Tobacco Radio Public Service Announcement Contest Announced on May 6, 2015
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On May 6, 2015, the winners of a local anti-tobacco radio PSA contest were announced during a live broadcast of the Coaches Corner radio show on WSTU-AM 1450.

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored by WSTU/WPSL-AM Radio, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County. The contest gives local youth the opportunity to create their own 30-second radio and video PSAs highlighting youth tobacco issues. Middle and high school students throughout the Treasure Coast are invited to submit entries.

Five entries were selected as finalists in the radio contest by local radio personalities and tobacco control staff. The finalists were then judged by members of the Orlando Magic radio broadcast teams. The broadcasters ranked the finalists and selected the First, Second, and Third Place Winners.

First place was awarded to "SWAT Team 6". The PSA was produced by Aristo Onassis and Jesus Perez, members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Martin County... Read More

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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.

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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New Tobacco-Free Policies Unveiled in Martin County
March 18 , 2015

We had a very successful winter in Martin County, with a decrease in secondhand smoke exposure at two major events enjoyed by children and their families! 

Both the Martin County Fairgrounds and the City of Stuart Riverwalk stage took the pledge to become tobacco-free this year, protecting visitors, particularly children, from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

The Martin County fairgrounds implemented new tobacco free signage at the fair this year, specifying traditional cigarettes, as well as chew tobacco and electronic cigarettes.  Tobacco use in public places, like the fair, can aid in increasing youth’s perception of tobacco as a normal substance to use.  This dangerous perception often leads to a minor’s own initiation of tobacco use.  Prohibiting use of cigarettes, chew tobacco, and electronic cigarettes at the fair had a tremendously positive result, with fewer youth exposed to tobacco use and the elimination of secondhand smoke exposure... Read More

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QuitDoc Awarded Tobacco Prevention Grant for Martin County
February 9, 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 Martin 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
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Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation Partners with WSTU-AM and WPSL-AM for the Annual Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest
November 30, 2014

For the seventh consecutive year, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation has joined forces with local radio stations WSTU-AM and WPSL AM to provide local youth with a contest to create anti-tobacco radio and television public service announcements.

Middle and high school students can create 30-second radio or video spots addressing one of the following areas:

The contest is open to all Middle and High School students in Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties. The entry deadline for both the radio and the video contest is February 20, 2015. Finalists will be judged by members of the Orlando Magic broadcast teams. Winners will be announced during a live radio broadcast on March 25, 2015. Winners will air on local radio and television.

You can click here to download informational flyers for both the Radio Contest and the Video Contest. You can also download a Registration Form here as well.

You can also read about last year's radio contest and video contest winners here.

For additional information, contact Dr. Barry Hummel at bhummel@quitdoc.com

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Martin County Employers Participate in the Annual Great American Smoke Out
November 20, 2014

On November 20, businesses across Martin County joined together to help support their employees attempts to quit tobacco use for the annual Great American Smoke Out.  Sandhill Cove, Forward Electric, and the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast all provided information on the Three Ways to Quit – a free tobacco cessation program provided by Tobacco Free Florida.  Posters were hung throughout the workplaces, and employees were encouraged to band together and pick a quit date, with support provided by their coworkers and employers.

At the Humane Society, the November staff meeting was dedicated to a presentation on tips for quitting tobacco use, including an overview of their insurance benefits for cessation services and the Three Ways to Quit program.  Several employees made a commitment to attempt to quit and took home resources to share with their family members... Read More

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Martin County SWAT Clubs Spread Awareness During Red Ribbon Week Activities
October 31, 2014

With the majority of tobacco users picking up their first tobacco product before their 18th birthday, youth prevention remains a major priority in Martin County.  SWAT Clubs throughout the county spread the message on their school campuses and at the Boys & Girls Clubs that tobacco use is not the norm and leads to devastating consequences.

In October and November, the Martin County SWAT Clubs participated in Red Ribbon Week to bring this message to their peers, creating posters, red cup messages at their school entrances, t-shirts, and more to prevent tobacco use among our county’s youngest residents. 

At Murray Middle School, students utilized their televised morning announcements that reached every classroom to teach them about the negative consequences of tobacco use. 

On high school campuses, red cups spelled out messages like “Say No to Tobacco” and “Cancer Cures Smoking” on school fences, reaching not only every student as they entered campus, but parents and residents driving past the school... Read More

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City of Stuart Adopts a Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Workplace Policy
September 16, 2014

In the spring of 2014, the City of Stuart adopted a comprehensive tobacco-free workplace policy, supporting their employees efforts to quit smoking and enhancing their current wellness policies.

The tobacco-free policy includes all City of Stuart properties, City vehicles, and includes a comprehensive no-hire policy for tobacco users.  Current employees are screened for nicotine use, and receive a discount on their health insurance plan if they are nicotine free.  They are also able to take free cessation classes through the Three Ways to Quit program to qualify for the health insurance discount and enjoy the benefits of a tobacco-free lifestyle.

The free Three Ways to Quit Program allows employees to call, go online, or even attend face-to-face cessation classes at their place of employment, in order to support tobacco cessation efforts.  The City of Stuart also provides cessation benefits through their workplace health insurance plans... Read More
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Tobacco Free Partnership Seeks Local Restaurants to Participate in Smoke-Free Family Nights
September 8, 2014

On Monday, September 22, Martin County will be celebrating the 2nd Annual “Family Day,” a local initiative encouraging families to eat a meal together.  Evidence shows that families who eat frequent meals together experience positive gains, including children being 52% more likely to choose not to use drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

Many families enjoy eating meals out together, and in Florida we’re fortunate enough to enjoy year-round outdoor dining.  Unfortunately, this luxury often comes at a cost.  Most outdoor patios still permit tobacco use.  Diners are not only exposed to secondhand smoke, but children who witness socially-accepted smoking are more likely to consider tobacco usage as “normal,” and are therefore more vulnerable to initiating tobacco use themselves.

But the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County hopes they can encourage more restaurants to participate in “Family Nights” – a special night once a week where tobacco use is not permitted on patios.  The Family Night committee is hopeful that these “breath easy” nights will see just as much, if not more business than a normal evening... Read More

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Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs in Martin County are Back in Action With the Start of the New School Year
August 28, 2014

School is back in session and the Martin County SWAT Clubs are in full swing!  Martin County currently has 9 active SWAT Clubs, with chapters at South Fork High School, Martin County High School, Jensen Beach High School, Indiantown Middle School, Murray Middle School, Hidden Oaks Middle School, Stuart Middle School, Anderson Middle School, and a community-based club at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County.  And the start of the school year means each of the Clubs are participating in great recruitment activities on their campuses to spread the word about tobacco prevention.

One of the most important messages the Clubs spread to their peer groups is that using tobacco products is NOT a social norm.  In fact, only 7% of middle and high school youths in Martin County have reported that they used a tobacco product at least once, down from 15% in 2007.

The SWAT Clubs work on many projects throughout the year, from speaking at local legislative meetings about tobacco issues to running campus-wide activities for observances like Kick Butts Day and the Great American Smoke Out... Read More

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Guest Column: Former Martin County High School SWAT President Reflects on Her First Year in College
By Megan Koenig, June 23, 2014

We make everyday decisions starting as soon as we wake up in the morning. Most of these, like what to eat for breakfast, have short-term effects and are not given much thought. Unfortunately, not all decisions can be brushed off this easily.

High school is classified as a time of choices. It is when students start their life path towards prospective colleges, jobs, or military involvement. Throughout high school, I saw many of my peers stumbling through choices. I witnessed some students brush off the thought of tobacco’s long-term effects and get caught in its trap, and I also saw other friends reach out for help... Read More

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Public Housing Residential Buildings in Martin County Are Going Smoke-Free
Policies Protect Residents From Secondhand Smoke and Smoking-Related Fires
June 5 , 2014

Stuart, 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.

“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.

For property managers and landlords, smoke-free policies can have economic benefits. More than 80% of Floridians are non-smokers.  Many people who do smoke do not permit smoking in their homes.  Given these numbers, many properties have very successfully marketed their smoke-free policy as an amenity, not a restriction.   Smokefree policies can save money by eliminating the need to repair or replace carpeting, floors, fixtures, countertops or appliances damaged by burns or nicotine stains.  At the end of a lease, smoke-free units require less turnover time due to fewer preparation and repainting needs... Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Local Tobacco Prevention Issues
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On May 29, 2014, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting.

The Tobacco Prevention Awards are presented each year to groups or individuals who have made an exceptional contribution towards the goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership.

Community Champion Awards are given each year to individuals who spearhead the effort on a particular tobacco prevention initiative. This year, three individuals were recognized as Community Champions for a number of diverse and important tobacco prevention projects.

Kevin Abbate, the Director of Martin County Parks and Recreation, was named a Community Champion for his ongoing efforts to create smoke-free parks and beaches. Mr. Abbate called for a workshop with the Martin County Board of County Commissioners in February 2014, during which they discussed possible options for reducing tobacco use and tobacco litter in local parks and beaches. The County Commissioners agreed to establish a regional working group with Indian River, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties to work on the issue collectively. Mr. Abbate is now working on a framework for the working group... Read More __________________________________________________________________

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... Read More

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Murray Middle School SWAT Students Win Local Anti-Tobacco Video Public Service Announcement Contest
April 17, 2014

Members of the Students Working Against Tobacco Club at Murray Middle School took First Place in a local video contest promoting youth tobacco prevention. The video clip focused on the issue of youth dating, making the point that non-smokers are more attracted to non-smokers.

The winning entry features Emily Damm and Alana Jakee, with cameos by Dylan Williams, Josh Boatwright, and Jaime Jimenez.

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored by WSTU Radio, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County. The contest gives local youth the opportunity to create their own 30-second video PSAs highlighting youth tobacco issues. Middle and high school students throughout the Treasure Coast were invited to submit entries.

The Murray Middle School SWAT club did not originally create the video for the contest. The club had written and produced a longer video to highlight strategies for saying "no" to peer pressure when offered a tobacco product... Read More

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Winners of Local Anti-Tobacco Radio Public Service Announcement Contest Announced on April 16, 2014
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On April 16, 2014, the winners of a local anti-tobacco radio PSA contest were announced during a live broadcast of the Coaches Corner radio show on WSTU-AM 1450.

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored by WSTU/WPSL-AM Radio, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County. The contest gives local youth the opportunity to create their own 30-second radio and video PSAs highlighting youth tobacco issues. Middle and high school students throughout the Treasure Coast are invited to submit entries.

Five entries were selected as finalists in the radio contest by local radio personalities and tobacco control staff. The finalists were then judged by members of the Orlando Magic radio broadcast teams. The broadcasters ranked the finalists and selected the First, Second, and Third Place Winners.

First place was awarded to "Don't Smoke Tobacco ". The PSA was produced by Ellie Bakkedahl, Lindsay Hughes, and Shannon Levy, students in the Leadership Class at Martin County High School... Read More

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Martin County Teens Tell Big Tobacco:
We are Not “Replacements
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.”

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

Martin County SWAT Clubs decorated their school campuses with anti-tobacco messages for Kick Butts Day, making posters and handing out fact cards on tobacco use.  They highlighted the tobacco industry’s efforts to recruit youth to replace the smokers they lose each year due to illness or death, and encouraged their peers to make the choice to not be a replacement... Read More

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Martin County Board of County Commissioners Explores Options for Reducing Tobacco Litter in Local Parks and Beaches
February 25, 2014

At the Martin County Board of County Commissioners meeting on February 25, 2104, a special agenda item was presented by the Parks and Recreation Director, Kevin Abbate, recommending steps to move forward with a tobacco-free parks and beaches policy in Martin County.

Because of Preemption in the state of Florida, local counties are prohibited from creating their own legislation restricting smoking at parks and beaches.  State Legislators have been working over the past few years to overturn Preemption and give back the power to local governments to determine tobacco restrictions in their own communities.  However, since these efforts have yet to pass into law, many communities in the state of Florida have decided to take the necessary steps to protect their communities from secondhand smoke exposure and tobacco litter... Read More.

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City of Stuart, Florida, Passes Ordinance to Restrict Youth Access and Exposure to Electronic Cigarettes
November 25, 2013

On November 25, 2013 the City Commission of Stuart, Florida voted unanimously to pass an ordinance to reduce youth access and exposure to electronic cigarettes.

The ordinance prohibits the sale of e-cigarettes to minors under the age of 18, places the products behind the counter requiring retailer-assisted sales, and bans the use of the devices in places where traditional tobacco is currently banned under the Florida Clean Indoor Air Act.

The ordinance was put forth by Vice Mayor Troy McDonald, who was concerned by rising rates of use by middle school and high school students, and a lack of clear rules restricting the sale of e-cigarettes to minors at the state and federal level... Read More

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Martin County Tobacco Prevention Specialist Presents to Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce on Employer-Based Tobacco Cessation Programs
November 14, 2013

At the November 14th Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce Breakfast, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist for Martin County, Kim Waser, was invited to speak on tobacco prevention efforts in Martin County, including Employer Cessation programs.

An audience of over 100 business owners and community leaders in Hobe Sound were guided through an exercise, during which they calculated the true cost of tobacco use in their workplace.

Pack-a-day smokers are estimated to have 75% more lost productive time during the work day than their non-smoking co-workers, and healthcare costs are an average of 34% higher than those who do not use tobacco.  In Florida, the average loss in productivity annually for a tobacco user at the workplace is $4,056.  The average extra medical expense for tobacco users is $2,056... Read More

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Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation Partners with WSTU-AM and WPSL-AM for the Annual Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest
November 14, 2013

For the fifth consecutive year, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation has joined forces with local radio stations WSTU-AM and WPSL AM to provide local youth with a contest to create anti-tobacco radio and television public service announcements.

Middle and high school students can create 30-second radio or video spots addressing one of the following areas:

The contest is open to all Middle and High School students in Martin, Okeechobee, St. Lucie, and Indian River Counties. The entry deadline for both the radio and the video contest is February 14, 2014. Finalists will be judged by members of the Orlando Magic broadcast team. Winners will be announced during a live radio broadcast on March 18, 2014. Winners will air on local radio and television.

You can click here to download informational flyers for both the Radio Contest and the Video Contest. You can also download a Registration Form here as well.

You can also read about the 2013 radio contest winners and video contest winners here.

For more information, email Dr. Barry Hummel.

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The Quit Doc Tobacco Control Program in Martin County is Featured on WSTU-AM during Coaches Corner
October 1 , 2013

Dr. Barry Hummel, Communications Director of the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and Ally Diaz, President of the Martin County High School Students Working Against Tobacco Club, were featured guests on the Coaches Corner Radio Program on WSTU-AM 1450. The live interview aired on October 1, 2013.

The interview covered a range of topics, including the local Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Program, which Quit Doc has been funding through a grant from the Florida Department of Health since 2008. There are currently SWAT Clubs in all five middle schools, all three high schools, and all five local Boys & Girls Clubs.

Ally Diaz shared some of the projects that are getting underway at Martin County High School. As the President of both SWAT and the Martin County Leadership Club, Ally has been looking for joint projects. She shared with Mike Thomas, the host of Coaches Corner, her passion to work on the emerging issue of electronic cigarettes.

"About two weekends ago, I took two of my committee members with me to the Regional SWAT Meeting, and we gave a presentation on e-cigarettes," Ally shared... Read More

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SWAT Clubs gear up for the 2013-2014 school year!
September 24, 2013

The nine Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs in Martin County are gearing up for an exciting school year!  Clubs exist at the Boys & Girls Clubs, Indiantown Middle School, Hidden Oaks Middle School, Stuart Middle School, Anderson Middle School, Murray Middle School, South Fork High School, Jensen Beach High School, and Martin County High School.  Each of the clubs works on youth prevention, and campus wide awareness of tobacco use. 

This month, Ally Diaz from Martin County High School traveled to Broward County to present on the harm of e-cigarettes at a Regional SWAT Meeting.  Ally also spoke at the Legislation Delegation meeting in Martin County on September 19, 2013, where she spoke to local representatives about tobacco issues and thanked them for their support. 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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SWAT Leader from Martin County Addresses
The Martin County Legislative Delegation

September 19, 2013

STUART – On September 19, 2013, Martin County High School Student Ally Diaz presented to the Martin County Legislative Delegation on youth tobacco issues.  Ms. Diaz is the new President of the Martin County High School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Club.

Ms. Diaz focused her remarks on current tobacco issues affecting her peers, sharing very personal stories with the legislators.  “What drives me is my passion for the safety of my family, my friends and the future generations,” said Ms. Diaz.  “My grandfather died of lung cancer… my best friend, he is battling with an addiction to chewing tobacco. Everyday, I ask him: ‘how did you do today?’ If he says,  ‘Ally I made it,’ I tell him I'm proud of him. If he tells me ‘Ally, I dipped today,’ I tell him ‘no matter what I am proud of you... Just keep trying, tomorrow is a new day.’”

Ms. Diaz made her remarks to share the importance of the Community-Based Youth Tobacco Prevention Programs on reducing youth tobacco use in Martin County...
Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Turns 5!
August 26, 2013

In 2008, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation obtained funding to establish the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County.  The Partnership held its first meeting on August 26, 2008, and thanks to the efforts of the partnership members, advisory council, SWAT advisors, students, and partnership staff – there is much to celebrate!

When the partnership began, about 15% of Martin County middle and high school youths had used a tobacco product at least once.  By 2012, that number was cut in half with only 7% reporting tobacco use.  Much of this success is contributed to the active SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) Clubs at each of the Martin County middle and high schools and the Boys & Girls Clubs.  The Clubs spread awareness about tobacco marketing tactics and the dangers of tobacco use at their school campuses and throughout the community... Read More

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Jim Vojcsik receives 30-Year Service Award from United Way Worldwide
June 5, 2013

United Way Worldwide recently presented Jim Vojcsik with the 30-Year Service Award.

Vojcsik was given the award during the United Way Worldwide National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana for his 30 years of executive management and fundraising experience at local United Ways in California, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Vojcsik has also been an active member of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County, where he has served on the Advisory Council since 2009.

“I was 29 years old when I started working for United Way and did not anticipate it becoming a career,” said Vojcsik, executive director of United Way of Martin County. “It has been personally rewarding to work with the dedicated staff professionals and volunteers in the communities where I have lived to advance the United Way mission while having such a positive impact on the lives of so many people.” Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Local Tobacco Prevention Issues
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On May 23, 2013, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting.

The Tobacco Prevention Awards are presented each year to groups or individuals who have made an exceptional contribution towards one of the goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership... Read More

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Winners of Anti-Tobacco Video Public Service Announcement
Contest Selected on May 14, 2013

By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On May 14, 2013, the winners of a local anti-tobacco video PSA contest were selected by the television broadcast team of the Orlando Magic.

First Place went to "Stomp on the Butt", which was produced by Abi Lamm, Edward Nicolace, Ryan Roscoe, Chris Sanchez, and James Talley of Storm Grove Middle School in Indian River County, Florida... Read More

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Stuart City Commissioners Pass a Resolution Urging Retailers to Stop Selling Flavored Tobacco Products That Target Youth

On Monday, February 25th, the Martin County Tobacco Prevention Specialist Kim Waser spoke before the City of Stuart Commissioners, urging them to adopt a resolution recommending that retailers in the City stop marketing and selling candy flavored tobacco products, which are proven to engage youth in tobacco use.

The Resolution, sponsored by Commissioner Glass Leighton and presented by Mayor Eula Clarke, passed unanimously, demonstrating that the City of Stuart Commissioners take seriously their commitment to protect the health and safety of the entire community, including Martin County’s youngest and most vulnerable citizens.
Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Recognizes
Anti-Tobacco Posters Created by Local Students
March 1, 2013

Stuart – The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County recognized the efforts of local students who created posters with tobacco prevention messages as part of larger contest conducted by Project Northland.  The posters were seen by more than 1,300 visitors to the Martin County Fair who showed their support for youth substance abuse prevention by visiting Project Northland Poster Booth... Read More

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Martin County SWAT Youth Celebrate Through With Chew Week
February 25, 2013

Over 40 youth members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Martin County's East Stuart Branch SWAT Club gathered on February 21, 2013, to watch a presentation on "Through with Chew" week by Martin County High School SWAT leaders Megan Koenig, Danielle Spotts, and Meleah Davies.  The younger SWAT members, ranging in age from 11-15, listened intently as their older peer leaders spoke about the dangers of chew tobacco products and the lure of candy flavored tobacco products... Read More

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State Survey Shows More Martin County Youth are Choosing Not to Use Alcohol or Drugs

Cathy Brennan, Public Information Officer, Martin County School District
January 15, 2013

The 2012 results of the Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey show a continued decrease in drug and alcohol usage among Martin County’s youth.  Specific highlights of the report include:

Read More

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Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation Partners with WSTU-AM and WPSL-AM for the Annual Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest
November 30, 2012

For the fourth consecutive year, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation has joined forces with local radio stations WSTU-AM and WPSL AM to provide local youth with a contest to create anti-tobacco radio and television public service announcements... Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Tobacco Prevention
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation
(Photos by Pat Graham)

On May 30, 2012, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting.

The Tobacco Prevention Awards are presented each year to groups or individuals who have made an exceptional contribution towards one of the goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership... Read More

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County Commissioners Declare May 31, 2012 as
"No Tobacco Day" in Martin County, Florida

May 22, 2012

On May 22, 2012, the Board of County Commissioners issued a Proclamation declaring May 31 as "No Tobacco Day" in Martin County, Florida. The date coincides with the World Health Organization's celebration or "World No Tobacco Day"... Read More

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Tobacco Free Partnership Tobacco Litter Clean-Up Contest,
March 30, 2012

On March 30, 2012, Martin County SWAT and the Tobacco Free Partnership announced the winners of their annual Tobacco Litter Clean-Up Contest. This year, the event was held in conjunction Tobacco Free Florida Week. The goal of the contest is to draw attention to the environmental hazards of tobacco litter, and the volume of tobacco litter in Martin County Florida. Keep Martin Beautiful reports that historically, tobacco-related trash accounts for in excess of 40% of all litter in Martin County, compared with roughly 20% nationally... Read More

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Winners of Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contests Announced on March 27, 2012
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On March 27, 2012, the winners of a local anti-tobacco radio and video PSA contest were announced live on WSTU-AM during the weekly "Coaches Corner" radio show.

The Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contest is co-sponsored by WSTU/WPSL-AM Radio, the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County... Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Wins an Environmental Stewardship Award for its Effort to Reduce Tobacco-Related Litter
By Barry Hummel, Jr., MD, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation
February 9, 2012

On February 8, 2012, the Keep Martin Beautiful awarded the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County with the Environmental Stewardship Award in the Non-Profit/Civic Organization Category. The Environmental Stewardship Award recognized the Partnership's work to promote tobacco free zones in local parks and beaches as a way to reduce tobacco-related trash... Read More

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Martin County Board of County Commissioners Passes Two Tobacco Prevention Resolutions
By Barry Hummel, Jr., MD, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation
September 27, 2011

On September 27, 2011, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners unanimously passed two resolutions addressing local youth tobacco prevention issues.  The resolutions were brought before the Board of County Commissioners by Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County... Read More
    
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Martin County Board of County Commissioners Votes to Implement New Signage to Reduce Tobacco Litter
By Barry Hummel, Jr., MD, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation
July 26, 2011

On July 26, 2011, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to implement a program to increase signage promoting existing local ordinances and a Florida Statutes designed to reduce litter in local parks and beaches.  The new signs will focus attention on tobacco-related litter, which is a particular problem in Martin County... Read More

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The Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Honors Community Leaders for Their Work on Tobacco Prevention
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On May 31, 2011, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County presented their annual Tobacco Prevention Awards to local community leaders at the organization’s quarterly meeting... Read More
    
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Winners of Anti-Tobacco Public Service Announcement Contests Announced on March 22, 2011
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On March 22, 2011, the winners of a local anti-tobacco radio and video PSA contest were announced live on WSTU-AM during the weekly "Coach's Corner" radio show... Read More

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Martin County Students Working Against Tobacco Help Pass an Ordinance Restricting Self Service Tobacco
By Dr. Barry Hummel, Jr., Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On March 1, 2011, the Martin County Board of County Commissioners passed a new local ordinance restricting the sale of self-service tobacco throughout Martin County.  This ordinance was the culmination of several months of work by the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) clubs and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County.
The need for such an ordinance was recognized during a surveillance project conducted by SWAT clubs during the spring of 2010... Read More

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Boys and Girls Club SWAT Clubs Receive the 2010 Youth Environmental Stewardship Award in Martin County
By Barry Hummel, Jr., MD, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On February 2, 2010 Keep Martin Beautiful presented the SWAT Clubs from the Boys and Girls Club of Martin County with the 2010 Youth Environmental Stewardship Award. Representatives of the East Stuart Boys and Girls Club were among the 220 guests and 51 nominees that attended the annual ceremony at Piper's Landing Yacht and Country Club... Read More