News and Events

2016 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) Results Show Progress in Columbia County
December 1, 2016

We are excited to announce the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey Results for Columbia County, as well as the statewide data for 2016 is in! This is something the Tobacco Free Partnership and SWAT Students in Columbia County look forward to every other year as it is great information and data that can be shared with our local communities!
The Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) was administered in the Spring of 2016. A total of 753 public high schools and middle schools in the 67 Florida counties participated in the FYTS. There were 69,640 students who participated in the 2016 FYTS; 33,558 at the high school level and 36,082 at the middle school level. This data is way for public health professionals, students, teachers, parents, and the public to explore data pertaining to youth tobacco use.

In Columbia County, we are happy to announce a decrease in the percentage of youth who have tried cigarettes, cigars and smokeless tobacco. In fact, in youth ages 11-17 there was a 7.7% drop in those that have tried cigarettes, 5.1% drop in those that have tried cigars and a 1.4% drop in those that have tried smokeless tobacco.

Additionally, we see similar drops in the percentage of youth who currently use cigarettes (2.8% decrease), cigars (1.8% decrease) and smokeless (0.5% decrease). For years, tobacco prevention has been at the forefront of providing education and information to decrease the use of tobacco in the Country, State of Florida and in Columbia County. It seems the work continues to pay off as we have seen a decrease in cigarettes, cigars and smokeless for several years now.

However, the raging epidemic of electronic cigarettes, hookah and vaping that Big Tobacco has created is making a mess of the hard work that we have done to minimize tobacco use in this country. We are seeing these effects nationwide, statewide and throughout Columbia County.

In fact, since 2014 there has been an 8.5% increase in the percentage of youth in Columbia County who currently use electronic vaping, and a 12.5% increase in the percentage of youth in Columbia County who have ever tried electronic vaping. Additionally, we also see an increase 1.2% in the number of youth in Columbia County who have tried hookah.

“If you look over the data from the past couple of years we’ve made great strides in decreasing youth use with traditional tobacco products, however as the times changes so do tobacco products and we are seeing a drastic uptick in newer products like electronic cigarettes and hookah. Though products may change our tactics will remain the same. It’s through continued education and awareness that we will continue to combat Big Tobacco. We can’t stop now in providing more education and information to our youth and hope that the message is heard loud and clear in Columbia County,” said Joseph O’Hern, Community Health Advocate with QuitDoc Foundation.

While we are extremely disappointed in the rise of electronic vaping, we are extremely proud that our Columbia County youth had an increase the number of youth who are committed to never using cigarettes, which is now up to 79.8%. Moreover, our continued work with the School Board of Columbia County has helped decrease the usage of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco and electronic vapors on school property.

“We have a lot to be thankful for, but also have a lot to work on. The Tobacco Free Partnership of Columbia County and Columbia County SWAT Chapter is committed to making Columbia a healthier, tobacco-free County,” said O’Hern

If you would like the full report on the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey, more information on how to get involved or have any questions, please contact