News and Events

Tobacco Free Partnership: The Year in Review
June 18, 2019

The 2018-2019 fiscal year proved to be one of many successes for the Tobacco Free Partnership of Columbia County, with tobacco free policies being gained throughout the community!

As the fiscal year kicked off, the Tobacco Free Partnership was still working closely with the Columbia County Public Housing Authority who recently implemented their smoke free housing policy. Tobacco Prevention Staff were able to not only help draft that policy, but also assist in the implementation of it as well as the continued education for tenants on tobacco cessation services. Overall, the policy has been well received by tenants and even inspired another multi-unit housing property in Columbia County to follow suit!

As the fiscal year progressed, the Partnership was not only able to be part of a new rural community event, “The Worlds Greatest Baby Shower,” but was also able to help with the planning. This community event was put on in partnership with the Well Florida Council of North Florida and was a great opportunity to educate new moms on the dangers of both second and third hand smoke in regards to infants as well as to educate on the overall danger of tobacco issue. Through building a new community relationship the Partnership was able to work alongside Well Florida to make this event 100% tobacco-free!

One highlight of this year was that throughout the year, the Partnership was also able to partner with the local Chamber of Commerce in an effort to make Columbia County a healthier place to live as well as a leader in tobacco prevention and education. During the winter, the local tobacco education and prevention program collaborated with the Chamber of Commerce for “Christmas Card Lane.” This signature Christmas event is one the community looks forward to every year and sees an attendance of close to 10,000 people! The Partnership was able to sponsor a large Christmas card that was displayed around Lake DeSoto (the center of downtown Lake City) and featured a crime scene revolving around “Frosty the Snowman” who saw his tragic (yet early) death thanks to second hand smoke! As one of the largest events in the area, the Partnership had the opportunity to connect with community partners, leaders, and members they had not previously had access to all while being able to increase the brand awareness of the Partnership.

In the latter part of the year, the Tobacco Free Partnership was presented with the opportunity to be the title sponsor for the “Leadership Lake City” graduation. The graduation recognizes though who completed the Chamber of Commerce of internship program and is well attended by community leaders, elected officials, health care professionals and more. This was yet another great opportunity to educate on the goals and initiatives of the Tobacco Free Partnership as grantee staff were provided the provide an overview on the program. It is also worth noting, this event was yet another 100% tobacco-free event!

For Tobacco Free Florida Week, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Columbia County took to the streets to educate on “E-Epidemic: Vaping and Youth,” and the goal was simple- educate as many people as possible on the dangers of electronic cigarettes. The Tobacco Free Partnership visited various community partners and influencers and met one-on-one to educate on electronic vaping and provide resources. Partners visited included but not limited to: City of Lake City, Wolfson Children’s Clinic, Columbia County Resources, Lake City Chamber of Commerce, Suwannee Valley 4C’s and more!  

The Tobacco Free Partnership also continued to develop great community and working relationships with Partners such as Suwannee Valley 4C’s, UF/IFAS, Columbia County School District, Lake City Chamber of Commerce, and so many more all in an effort to further make Columbia County a leader in tobacco prevention. In the end, with various community presentations, events, health fairs, media outlets, etc. the Tobacco Free Partnership of Columbia County was able to educate close to 20,000 community members on the dangers of tobacco use making the 2018-2019 fiscal year one of the most successful yet!