Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County Makes it on the Big Screen!
by Lauren Fischer
October 23, 2020

The Red Ribbon Kickoff event this year was the first of its kind, and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Marion County (TFP) was a proud sponsor. Every year, The Community Council Against Substance Abuse (CCASA) provides a safe and entertaining celebration for Marion County youth during the Red Ribbon Week. This year’s event took place at the Ocala Drive-in Theater for the first time. With over 900 attendees, CCASA arranged to have their event spotlight partners before a free of charge double feature complete with swag bags. The total attendance was higher at this venue than ever before, and that included youth of middle and high school ages.

With the assistance of the TFP and collaboration between the event organizer and its volunteers, the event was tobacco free. As each car load of patrons pulled in to receive information on the featured films and their swag bag, they were also informed that the grounds were tobacco free during the entire event. Signage was posted at the entrances, in the play area, and near concession stands to remind attendees of the policy.

The sponsor spotlight was equally bigger than in years past with the Point of Sale policy area being highlighted on the big screen for the TFP. A Student Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) youth assisted in the production of the spotlight by demonstrating just how “in your face” some tobacco ads can be. Youth are especially vulnerable to tobacco ads because of placement near items and ads that interest youth, like candy, ice cream and soda. The ads are often brightly colored and have a “cool” theme that is aiming to appeal to a younger generation. The message to the drive-in audience provided information on what point of sale is and why it’s important.

“Point-of-sale marketing allows the tobacco industry to manipulate retail environments – like convenience stores and gas stations – to increase tobacco product sales and use. Big Tobacco spends about $9.1 billion a year on marketing in the United States, and $608.1 million of that is spent right here in Florida(1). It’s no wonder why. Studies show that tobacco use increases with exposure to point-of-sale marketing(2,3). Tobacco companies also target advertising toward vulnerable groups, like African Americans, Hispanics, people living below the poverty line, and people with behavioral health conditions(4,5,6)."


The TFP is hopeful that next year’s Red Ribbon Kickoff event will be just as big, and that the partnership can continue to bring important tobacco prevention and education to the attention of Marion County residents in this impactful method.

To learn more about QuitDoc Foundation, or Marion County Tobacco Free Partnership, visit our website or Like us on Facebook.
QuitDoc Foundation
Marion County Tobacco Free Partnership and
Lauren Fischer · Tobacco Prevention Specialist · 352-359-5383 ·


  1. U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Cigarette Report for 2018, 2019, See also, FTC, Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2018, 2019, See also, FTC, Smokeless Tobacco Report for 2017, 2019, State total is a prorated estimate based on cigarette pack sales in the state. For tobacco marketing influence on youth, see Pollay, R., et al., "The Last Straw? Cigarette Advertising and Realized Market Shares Among Youths and Adults," Journal of Marketing 60(2):1-16, April 1996; Evans, N., et al., "Influence of Tobacco Marketing and Exposure to Smokers on Adolescent Susceptibility to Smoking," Journal of the National Cancer Institute 87(20): 1538-45, October 1995; Pierce, J.P., et al., "Tobacco Industry Promotion of Cigarettes and Adolescent Smoking," Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 279(7): 511-505, February 1998 [with erratum in JAMA 280(5): 422, August 1998]. [accessed August 7, 2020].
  2. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (US) Office on Smoking and Health. Preventing Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta (GA): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US); 2012. 5, The Tobacco Industry’s Influences on the Use of Tobacco Among Youth. Available from: . [accessed August 4, 2020].
  3. Levy, D. T., Lindblom, E. N., Fleischer, N. L., Thrasher, J., Mohlman, M. K., Zhang, Y., … Nagelhout, G. E. (2015). Public Health Effects of Restricting Retail Tobacco Product Displays and Ads. Tobacco Regulatory Science, 1(1), 61–75. . [accessed August 4, 2020]. 
  4. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed August 4, 2020].
  5. Rodriguez D, Carlos HA, Adachi-Mejia AM, Berke EM, Sargent JD. Predictors of tobacco outlet density nationwide: a geographic analysis.Tob Control. 2013 Sep;22(5):349-55. doi: 10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2011-050120. Epub2012 Apr 4. [accessed August 4, 2020].
  6. Young-Wolff KC, Henriksen L, Delucchi K, Prochaska JJ. Tobacco retailer proximity and density and nicotine dependence among smokers with serious mental illness.  Am J Public Health. 2014 Aug;104(8):1454-63. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301917. Epub 2014 Jun 12. [accessed August 4, 2020].