Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County
227 US 27 North, #208
Sebring, Florida 33870

Highlands County Tobacco Prevention Newsletter

Volume 2, Issue 4 / October-December, 2013
Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County Celebrates the Great American Smoke Out on Local School Campuses
November 21 , 2013

     The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County, part of the statewide Tobacco Free Florida program, had a message for tobacco users during this year’s Great American Smoke Out: There is a Quitter In You!
     The purpose of the annual Great American Smoke Out, observed this year on Thursday, Nov 21st, was to set aside a day for smokers to find their inner “quitter”. This observance is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective resources available to successfully quit.
     “The most important step a smoker can take for a healthier and longer life is to quit smoking,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “We urge Floridians to take advantage of our resources, and what better time to do so than during the Great American Smoke out. The American Cancer Society has been an invaluable partner in our efforts to help smokers quit.”
STR8 UP Youth Ministry Partners with the Tobacco Free Partnership of HIghlands County to Create a
Faith-Based SWAT Club in Lake Placid

November 15 , 2013

     The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County was happy to welcome its first ever community-based SWAT club this quarter.
     STR8 UP Youth Ministry is a non-denominational faith- based community youth center. It is the vision of Sammy and Dana Telesco, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The STR8 UP Youth House is a safe place for middle and high school age young people to come and learn about Jesus, get academic help, and enjoy athletics and much more, all under the guidance of mentors and tutors.
     On November 15th, Dr. Barry Hummel and Amanda John hosted a recruitment event at STR8 UP in Lake Placid. Dr. Hummel did a presentation to over 40 kids and obviously made a huge impression because over 16 kids signed up for SWAT.
     “I am so thrilled that we have our first community based club, but even more thrilled because it’s also the first faith based club,” said Amanda John, Tobacco Prevention Specialist. “We had quite a few sign up, but will have access to so many more because of the number of kids that go to STR8 UP. I just know this is going to be one powerful SWAT club!”
Pasco County Teachers’ Union Won’t Be Blowing Smoke Over Tobacco-Free Campuses
by Tom Jackson

     Life’s surest lesson, introduced the moment we leave the womb, is this: Everything is a negotiation.
     Infants learn when they cry big people will deliver food, a fresh diaper or cuddling in exchange for silence. Later on, we hone our skills to get better deals on household chores, curfews, birthday presents, cars, even the size of our college funds.
     We are never powerless when we know we have something the other party wants, as abundantly demonstrated by Mahatma Gandhi’s application of passive resistance to win India’s independence from the British empire.
     Understanding this explains our complete lack of surprise when, last week, the union representing Pasco school employees rejected a speedy invitation to discuss making all the district schools tobacco-free zones.
     Just now, Pasco schools built before 1996 must provide an outdoor smoking compound, shielded from students’ view, where employees can indulge their stinky, unhealthy habit.
New York City Mayor Signs Bill Raising Age for Tobacco Buys
By David B. Caruso, Associated Press

     NEW YORK -- New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has signed a bill banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone under age 21, making New York the first large city or state in the country to prohibit sales to young adults.
     During a bill-signing ceremony Tuesday, Bloomberg said the law will help prevent young people from experimenting with tobacco at the age when they are most likely to become addicted
     City health officials say 80 percent of smokers start before age 21.
     City health officials hope that raising the legal purchase age from 18 to 21 will lead to a big decline in smoking rates in a critical age group. A majority of smokers get addicted to cigarettes before age 21, and then have trouble quitting, even if they want to do so.
Florida Gulf Coast University Faculty Senate Votes to Support Ban on Tobacco Products on Campus
By Kristine Gill

     NAPLES -- Neuroscience professor Martha Rosenthal was working on a textbook about drugs, society and behavior this year when the chapter on smoking struck her.
     "I thought, ‘Oh my god, how is this drug legal?’" said Rosenthal, who is writing for the Oxford University Press. "I mean, I knew all this stuff, but putting it all together in one chapter hit me."
     So last month, the Florida Gulf Coast University professor brought her concerns to a meeting of the Faculty Senate and suggested the body prohibit smoking campus wide.
     Faculty Senate voted Friday, 20 to 6, to support a ban on tobacco and smokeless tobacco products, following suit with several other state higher education institutions. The vote doesn’t change existing policies on the campus, but the senate’s formal approval can now be taken to the administration for consideration. Student government is also expected to take a stance.
E-Cigarettes Gain Attention in Schools Amid Rise in Popularity
By Donna St. George

     When a teacher noticed what looked like smoke rising in her Eastern Middle School classroom one day this fall, she quickly investigated, finding an eighth-grade boy holding an e-cigarette.
     The “smoke” was vapor, but for Casey B. Crouse, principal at the Silver Spring school, the episode was the first signal of what she would learn is a troubling teen trend nationally: An increasing number of students using electronic devices that simulate tobacco smoking.\
     E-cigarettes are beginning to show up in the hallways of the nation’s middle schools and high schools. Just as health officials have begun to debate their potential dangers and school districts have started to pay attention to them, educators are grappling with how to deal with students who are found puffing on e-cigarettes while at school.
E-Cigarette Ban for Minors Backed by Florida Senate Committee
Jim Turner, The News Service pf Florida

     TALLAHASSEE -- With the slim metal tubes becoming a trendy alternative to regular cigarettes, a Senate committee Thursday approved a bill that would prohibit the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.
     The Senate Regulated Industries Committee unanimously supported a proposal (SB 224) by Senate Majority Leader Lizbeth Benacquisto, R–Ft. Myers, that would add nicotine dispensing devices to the state's prohibition on the sale of tobacco products to people under age 18. The bill also would make it illegal for minors to possess such electronic cigarettes and products.
     "I think it's a very good bill too, it's probably something we've missed in the past," said Sen. Nancy Detert, R-Venice.
     The bill has the support of the Florida Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
     Brenda Olsen, chief operating officer for the American Lung Association of the Southeast, said her organization also supports the measure but wants the language of the bill to recognize the product in the same manner as cigarettes and other tobacco products.
'Emerging' Tobacco Products Gaining Traction Among Young, CDC Survey Finds
By Tom Watkins, CNN

     (CNN) -- The percentage of middle-school and high-school students using so-called emerging tobacco products is increasing even as their rate of tobacco use in general is remaining relatively constant, federal scientists reported Thursday.
     Last year, 6.7% of middle-school students and 23.3% of high-school students said in a survey reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that they had used a tobacco product at least once in the previous 30 days.
     Last year's overall rate of tobacco use differs little from what it was in 2011, when 7.5% of middle school students and 24.3% of high school students said they had used a tobacco product.

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