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DeSoto County Students Working Against Tobacco Members Attend Local Legislative Delegation Meeting
October 20, 2017

Senator Denise Grimsley and Representative Ben Albritton met with residents of DeSoto County on October 20, 2017. The legislative delegation hearing was held at the DeSoto County Courthouse and served as a time for residents to share their top concerns with decision makers.

Community Health Advocate, Jodie DeLoach, and SWAT President, Lauren Wiley pose for a quick picture with Senator Grimsley before the delegation.

The Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP) of DeSoto County and DeSoto County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Chapter is working hard to reduce usage and exposure to tobacco products through many avenues and initiatives. The two main issues that were brought before the delegation were policies to counteract tobacco product marketing at the retail point of sale (POS) and the reduction of second hand smoke.   

DeSoto County Community Health Advocate, Jodie DeLoach, addressed the delegation first to share some of our local efforts. She spoke on some of our recent wins, including but not limited to, a Tobacco Free Zones Resolution in City owned and operated parks and recreational facilities, a County Resolution that encourages retailers to restrict the sale of candy-flavored tobacco products, and recent Point of Sale store assessments.

Lauren Wiley eloquently addresses a question posed by Representative Albritton.

DeSoto High School SWAT Club President, Lauren Wiley, was also in attendance. Wiley noted local statistics from the 2016 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey with the legislators. “Since 2012, the amount of youth ages 11-17 that reported ever trying cigarettes has decreased from 30.9% to 19.9%, with an overall reduction of 11%. While this is a huge win for DeSoto County Youth, unfortunately, with the rise in popularity of vaping, we have not had such great success with electronic cigarettes. The amount of youth that have ever tried electronic cigarettes in DeSoto County has increased from 4.6% to an astounding 21%.” 

Both DeSoto County TFP and SWAT Youth specifically focus on the smoke, not the smoker. We believe it isn’t our place to tell someone to quit smoking, but instead, focus on protecting those who choose not to smoke from the health hazards of tobacco products and second-hand smoke.

On behalf of our local SWAT Chapter and Tobacco Free Partnership, we thank our Legislative Delegation for allowing our voice to be heard. Gaining legislations support is the only way to protect Florida residents from secondhand smoke and e-cigarette vapor. We hope to maintain the Tobacco Trust Funding that supports our Community-Based Tobacco Prevention Programs and we look forward to continuing our work here in

DeSoto County, protecting Florida’s most valuable and vulnerable asset, our youth.
For more information, contact Jodie DeLoach at