News and Events

Columbia County Sees Growth In Tobacco Free Events
March 19, 2019

It’s often asked, “Why should this event go tobacco-free? Or even smoke-free? It’s outside, let people do what they want!” It’s simple, tobacco free events provide endless benefits to community members by allowing them to enjoy an event with the worry of being exposed to secondhand smoke or vapor, providing an environment that shows youth tobacco use is not the norm, and by supporting those that have made the difficult decision to quit the use of tobacco.  With Tobacco being the number preventable cause of death and disease tobacco free events send a very important message that the community’s health and well-being are a priority. 

For the past few years, creating a safer environment by pushing for more tobacco-free events in Columbia County has been one of the main focuses of the Tobacco Free Partnership. In fact, the Partnership has worked with community events such as The Worlds Greatest Baby Shower, Olustee Festival, and Kids Day to write and implement
tobacco-free event policies.

“To some these events going smoke or tobacco free may seem minute or irrelevant but in all reality they’re really the stepping stones to changing the social norms that tobacco use is a way of life in here in Columbia County,” commented Joey O’Hern, Columbia County Tobacco Prevention Specialist. Recent Robert Wood Johnson Foundation county health rankings put adult smoking in Columbia County at 22%, higher than the state average of 15% and creating a culture of being tobacco free can only help lower those numbers.  

“The reach of these policies are incredible,” commented O’Hern, Community Health. “Not only does it benefit thousands of people that attend these events, it is also a great way to showcase the value tobacco free event and venue policies, ultimately encouraging other organizations and venues to follow suit. It’s our goal that all major events in the area will eventually follow suit.”

Why else should we promote Tobacco Free Event policies? It also provides an event that requires less clean-up of litter and debris from smoking and lowers the risk of fire or other damages caused by cigarettes. Tobacco Free Events can also attract a broader audience and increase overall attendance.  By choosing to make your event Tobacco Free, you are sending the message that the health and safety of your participants is of utmost importance.  Together, we can reduce the toll of tobacco on our community through tobacco free events.

Creating a Tobacco Free policy for your event doesn’t have to be complicated. QuitDoc Foundation, along with the Tobacco Free Partnership of Columbia County and the Community Health Advocate can help with policy initiation, guidance and additional support needed.  Feel free to reach out with any questions: