News and Events

Tobacco Free Events Prove Beneficial To Community!
March 9, 2020

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.  Tobacco is the number preventable cause of death and disease and Tobacco Free Events send a very important message that the community’s health and well-being are a priority.  Together, we can reduce the toll of tobacco on our community through Tobacco Free Events.

For the past few years, creating a safer environment by pushing for more tobacco-free events in Highlands County has been at the forefront of our focus. In fact, the Tobacco Free Partnership worked with numerous community events to increase the amount of tobacco free events in the area. Those events include but are not limited to the Gateway To Freedom Human Trafficking Symposium, Olustee Festival, numerous health and wellness fairs, Chamber of Commerce events and more.

 “The reach of these tobacco free event policies are incredible and are received with positivity,” said Joseph O’Hern, Community Health Advocate for QuitDoc Foundation. “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.”

The Tobacco Free Partnership is continuously working towards increasing the amount of tobacco free events in Columbia County. “Ideally large community events such as the Florida Gateway Fair and the Olustee Festival would implement comprehensive tobacco free event policies. We’ve got a long ways to getting there but I think it’s possible,” O’Hern commented.

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. 

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