News and Events

Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County Promotes Tobacco Cessation During the Great American Smoke Out
November 21, 2014

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County (TFP) participated in the American Cancer Society’s annual Great American Smoke Out (GASO) event by providing a number of workplaces with GASO posters and postcards as well as Quitline information for their work sites, and setting up educational tables in a few locations to help spread the word.  The Marion County Tobacco Prevention Specialist, who is a Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist, was also on hand at two locations to provide cessation information and advice. 

GASO Banner

The North Central office of the American Cancer Society partnered with Ocala Health and the TFP at tables in the Ocala Regional Medical Center and West Marion Community Hospital cafeterias during the busy lunch hour to provide staff, patients, and families with tobacco cessation information and resources.

“Ocala Health is proud to host another year of the Great American Smoke Out with our local partners, Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County and American Cancer Society,” shared  Hayley Creasey, the Service Line Director for Oncology and General Surgery at Ocala Health.  “Though it is an ongoing effort, GASO is a great opportunity for us to bring experts onsite to highlight the importance of tobacco cessation to our employees, patients and families and ensure they are armed with local and national resources.  We have made extra efforts by also having Tobacco Free Campuses at both Ocala Regional and West Marion Community Hospitals. We are focused on not only our patients’ health and wellbeing, but also our employees’ and are glad to have these strong partnerships that make these efforts possible.”
GASO Table

The Great American Smoke Out is a perfect opportunity to educate businesses about the benefits of implementing smoke free policies at their work places as well as to provide tobacco cessation information to local residents.  Marion County participates in this holiday along with the rest of the counties in Florida in a coordinated effort promoted by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida to encourage local businesses to go smoke free.

“Employers who provide tobacco cessation resources and a supportive work environment frequently motivate tobacco users to quit,” said Dr. Barry Hummel, Co-Founder of Quit Doc. “Studies have also shown that this type of support during a quit attempt can double a person’s chances of success.”

Health care costs are one of the largest expenses facing Marion County businesses.  On average, health care costs for employees who smoke are up to 34 percent higher compared to non-smokers.  Every employee who smokes can cost employers an extra $2,056 a year in health care expenses.

“Businesses who want to help their employees quit tobacco should also implement a tobacco free grounds policy at their workplace,” said Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief Shannon Hughes. “These policies are one of the most effective ways to help employees quit and it creates a healthier environment for all.”

Tobacco Free Campus

The TFP also had an informational table set up at the College of Central Florida’s (CF) headquarters in Ocala and collected information from students via a brief survey that asked about their attitudes and knowledge about tobacco.  This survey was also offered at CF’s Levy campus during a GASO health fair in Chiefland. This information will be used to shape future tobacco educational outreach activities.  All of CF campuses went 100% tobacco free earlier this year and the Tobacco Free Partnership is happy to support them in these efforts to encourage tobacco free lifestyles in their students and employees.

For more information about tobacco issues in Marion County, visit our website:, or email Manette Cheshareck, Tobacco Prevention Specialist in Marion County, at