News and Events

Tobacco Use Remains a Public Health Threat in Florida, Especially Among Certain Subpopulations
April 5, 2018

While Florida has seen a significant decline in smoking, there are still about 2.5 million adult cigarette smokers in the state. This is largely because disparities in tobacco use remain especially high among certain groups, including: racial and ethnic minorities, low-income individuals, the LGBT community, and people with mental health conditions.

DeSoto County, being a very rural community, is largely targeted by tobacco companies. So, in honor of Tobacco Free Florida Week, and to spread awareness on how tobacco companies use point-of-sale marketing to target our vulnerable population, DHS SWAT Youth and TFP members set up an informational booth at Jim Space Park Complex on April 5th.

Jim Space contains a large playground, adult softball fields, and little league softball fields. A booth was set up right in the entry of the park, so all visitors had to walk by the booth to enter. There were various hands-on materials available to teach about the dangers of tobacco use and volunteers shared statistics with visitors, including but not limited to:  

In addition to setting up the booth and sharing statistics with visitors, SWAT Youth decorated rocks with tobacco free messages to be “hidden” around town. SWAT youth really enjoyed tapping into their creative side and decorating the rocks. Our mission is to inform parents and children about the harms of tobacco use, but more importantly, raise awareness on the many tactics used by tobacco companies in our rural area. We hope that as these rocks are discovered and rehidden, our message will continue circulating around our community.

Picture 1 Caption:
DHS SWAT Youth and TFP members share information on how tobacco use remains a public health threat in Florida, especially among certain subpopulations.
Picture 2 Caption:
SWAT youth tapped into their creative side to decorate rocks with tobacco free messaging. These rocks were hidden around town and decorating the rocks.