TIPS 2 Quit Reaches Marion County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officers
June 2, 2017

School Resource Officers (SROs) play a significant role in public schools, helping to ensure a safe and secure campus. SROs receive training in counseling techniques to be a support system for students and to recognize potential risk factors for things such as drug abuse. As part of a recent comprehensive training session, Marion County Sheriff’s Office SROs met with QuitDoc Foundation staff to learn more about the Tobacco Intervention Program for Students, better known as “TIPS 2 Quit”.

TIPS 2 Quit has been available in Marion County for over a year now, thanks to grant support from the Marion County Hospital District. This innovative program developed by QuitDoc Foundation provides students with education and awareness of tobacco and related issues so they can make more informed decisions for themselves and become agents of positive change in their communities.

According to the 2016 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS), Marion County youth aged 11-17 are using electronic cigarettes at rates higher than state average (12.1% vs. 11.6%) and “ever tried” electronic cigarette use rates are increasing exponentially, rising from 6.1% in 2012 to 28.4% in 2016. 1 in 5 youth (20%) reported current use of cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco, or electronic cigarettes in 2016; the SROs found these tobacco use statistics very sobering.

In a roundtable discussion, the SROs shared that tobacco products found on middle and high school campuses varied by location, with the metropolitan areas finding electronic cigarettes as the more popular tobacco product among their youth, and the rural schools having more smokeless tobacco/dip use—although smokeless tobacco is becoming more ubiquitous since its use can be more easily hidden.

All of the SROs agreed that tobacco use was a current problem among their student populations and having a program like TIPS 2 Quit available was important to help prevent students from using tobacco and related products such as electronic cigarettes and marijuana, and to encourage them to quit.

QuitDoc Foundation has a companion program to TIPS 2 Quit called the Student Tobacco Addiction Treatment program or “STAT”. STAT is a 5-session tobacco cessation program targeted towards youth aged 10-17, and incorporates an ongoing, peer-led youth support group for program graduates once the 5 sessions are completed.

Each of these programs are available for any school or youth group in Marion County. Please contact MCheshareck@QuitDoc.com or SDamien@QuitDoc.com for more information about starting a TIPS to Quit or STAT program at your Marion County location, or to become a trained TIPS 2 Quit facilitator.