News and Events

The Tobacco Free Partnership of DeSoto County Celebrates Tobacco Free Florida Week with a Focus on Mental Health
May 8, 2022

Each year, Tobacco Free Florida celebrates Tobacco Free Florida Week - an initiative focusing on a major public health issue connected to tobacco use. This year, Tobacco Free Florida was observed May 8 – 14 and aligned with Mental Health Awareness Month.

Tobacco Free Florida used the theme “Mental Health Equals Mental Wealth: Overcoming the Influences of Tobacco on the Mind.” to address and correct misconceptions, including that tobacco provides an alternative when people feel stressed or anxious. Part of this traces back to decades ago, with tobacco companies marketing heavily to those with mental health issues and promoting myths and falsehoods about supposed health benefits of tobacco use(1).

People with behavioral and mental health conditions are especially susceptible to the effects of tobacco. Nearly 25% of adults in the United States have a mental health or substance use disorder and these adults consume almost 40% of all cigarettes smoked by adults in the U.S.

TFP Members were honored to celebrate TFFW in partnership with All Faith’s Food Bank. Pictured left to right: Asya Shine, Jodie DeLoach, Gracie Sager, Lindsey Sager, Heather Fugate

This year’s theme highlights the fact that tobacco and nicotine use can lead to negative health consequences among individuals with mental and/or behavioral health conditions(2). People with behavioral health conditions die about five years earlier than people without such conditions, and more than 50% of these deaths are from tobacco-related diseases(3).

On a positive note, when people diagnosed with mental or behavioral health issues quit smoking, they are also more likely to avoid other drugs and harmful substances(4).

TFP Member Heather Fugate and SWAT Youth Gracie Sager
work away getting food boxes ready for distribution.

To highlight positive ways to cope without tobacco and provide Floridians with cessation support while on their quit journeys, DeSoto TFP and SWAT Members volunteered at All Faith’s Food Bank throughout the week. Members helped unload and organize food off the delivery trucks and pack boxes for distribution! Flyers with information on overcoming the influence of tobacco on the mind were added to every box!

“We were honored to partner with All Faith’s Food Bank, an amazing organization that serves hundreds of families in our community. It allowed us to not only volunteer for a great cause but also get this valuable information out to our residents.” said Jodie DeLoach, Tobacco Program Manager.

To learn more about overcoming the influences of tobacco on the mind visit


  1. Apollonio, D., & Malone, R. E. (2005). Marketing to the marginalised: tobacco industry targeting of the homeless and mentally ill. Tobacco Control, 14(6), 409-415. Retrieved from
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, December 3). Tobacco use and quitting among individuals with behavioral health conditions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved April 5, 2022, from
  3. Richter KP, Arnsten JH. A rationale and model for addressing tobacco dependence in substance abuse treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy. 2006;1(1):23.
  4. Weinberger, Andrea H et al. “Cigarette Smoking Is Associated With Increased Risk of Substance Use Disorder Relapse: A Nationally Representative, Prospective Longitudinal Investigation.” The Journal of clinical psychiatry vol. 78,2 (2017): e152-e160. doi:10.4088/JCP.15m10062