News and Events

Local Tobacco Free Partnership Visits the Kiwanis Club of Ocala
January 17 , 2014

On January 17th, the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County (TFP) presented a tobacco education talk on flavored tobacco and other tobacco industry marketing tactics to the Kiwanis Club of Ocala, the largest Kiwanis gathering in Marion County. 

At this meeting, the newly elected Marion County Sheriff was inducted as a member of the Club; other dignitaries present included the Chair of the Public School Board, President-Pro Tem of the Ocala City Council, the Chief of Ocala Police Department, and about 50 others including the TFP Advisory Council member and Kiwanis Trustee who arranged for the meeting.

This tobacco education presentation was very interactive with many participants asking insightful questions and a few shared stories of loved ones who are battling nicotine addiction or who have personally beat their addiction to nicotine.

Candy or Tobacco? 

 Many of the participants were stunned to learn the extent to which the tobacco industry uses flavorings and product placement to entice new users.  Samples of flavored tobacco products were displayed to show the range of items that are currently sold and within reach of youth, especially in convenience stores.  The participants were informed of the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) clubs that currently do peer education in Marion County and who assist with local tobacco surveillance activities.

The end of the presentation was filled with questions regarding electronic cigarette devices (e-cigs) since many of those present have friends and/or relatives who are currently using them.  Their main concern was the safety of using these devices and whether or not they actually help people quit. 

The Tobacco Prevention Specialist shared the current research on e-cigs, which is still ongoing.  Preliminary statistics reveal that these devices are encouraging new nicotine users, especially youth, because many consider e-cigs to be harmless compared to tobacco products. 

Use rates of electronic cigarettes by youth have doubled in Florida during the past year, with many of the youth reporting dual use of e-cigarettes and traditional tobacco products.  This suggests that e-cigarettes may be a new gateway to nicotine addiction. There is also the issue of use of illicit substances using these electronic devices.

For more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County, contact Manette Cheshareck at