News and Events

Local Tobacco Prevention Specialist Take Message and Resources of “Tobacco Free Florida” to Channel 4 WJXT!
April 3, 2018

On April 3, 2018 the Tobacco Prevention Specialist of Columbia County Joey O’Hern along with the Tobacco Prevention Specialist of Bradford County, Joey O'Hern, were presented with the opportunity to appear on WJXT Channel 4 of Jacksonville to be interviewed by “The Morning Show” anchor, Melanie Lawson to not only educate North Florida on Tobacco Free Florida Week but the dangers of tobacco as a whole.

Lawson is one of many anchors of the “Morning Show” and is a native of  Longwood, just two hours south of Jacksonville. She attended Hampton University in Virginia before beginning her career in journalism at WBOC-TV in Salisbury, Md., and Dover, Del. While at WBOC, she covered Delaware legislature, Dover Air Force Base and in-depth health stories, to name a few. She received an Associated Press award for a half-hour health special that she wrote, co-produced and hosted. It focused on three deadly health conditions that plagued the community. Hosting the half-hour health special was just one way Melanie was involved in the community. Melanie lost her father to lung cancer in 2009 after he smoked for many years. In February, she shared her story on Facebook and mentioned Tobacco Free Florida’s resources. 

From L to R: Columbia County Tobacco Prevention Specialist Joey O'Hern, Bradford County Tobacco Prevention Specialist Jenna Hewett, WJXT Anchor Melanie Lawson

The three discussed the decline in cigarette smoking and the success of tobacco prevention program across the state.  While Florida has seen a significant decline in smoking, there are still about 2.5 million adult cigarette smokers in the state. We have also seen a significant rise in the use of electronic nicotine delivery devices. Studies show that two out of three cigarette smokers wish they could quit. O’Hern commented, “One of the goals of our program is to really educate as many people about the dangers of tobacco will simultaneously educated them on the numerous cessation resources that are available” He went on to say, “Channel 4 is the number one new station here on the First Coast, when an opportunity like this is presented, one where you can really get the message out to a large audience you’ve got to jump on it and we’re grateful we were able to!”

The Tobacco Prevention Specialists stated that Tobacco Free Florida has many resources for those wanting to quit that allow to access FREE tools, choosing as many as needed, or combining the services that work best. There are seven free resources that Floridians have access to: phone quit, group quit, web quit, text2quit, email tips, two week starter kit and a quit guide. The Tobacco Prevention Specialists were grateful for the opportunity to share more information on Tobacco Free Florida Week and the tobacco prevention efforts happening locally across the state.