News and Events

The City of Vero Beach Issues a Proclamation Encouraging Retailers to Restrict the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products That Target Youth

On February 19, 2013, The City Council of Vero Beach issued a Proclamation encouraging local education on the issue of flavored tobacco products and urging retailers in Vero Beach to restrict the sale of those products that target youth.

"I was astounded when Leslie came to talk to me about her report on where we are with tobacco use, and I was just stunned on some other issues," said Vero Beach Mayor Craig Fletcher prior to reading the proclamation dealing with the sale of fruit-flavored and candy-flavored tobacco in local convenience stores. "Youth in Indian River County may be particularly susceptible to flavored tobacco products. Specifically, over 24% of Indian River County high school youth have used one or more tobacco products in the past thirty days, and use tobacco products at a significantly higher average rate than the youth in the State of Florida."

Mayor Fletcher
Mayor Craig Fletcher reads the Proclamation addressing the issue of flavored tobacco
products targeting youth in Vero Beach convenience stores.

After sharing some information on the use of flavored products and colorful packaging to entice underage minors to try tobacco, Mayor Fletcher read the Proclamation urging "all parents and others in the position of advising youth in Vero Beach, Florida to educate youth to the addictive and harmful effects of tobacco products, so the youth are not misled by advertising, packaging, or sweet flavors into believing that flavored tobacco products are safe and non addictive."

Mayor Fletcher continued by adding "I also urge local retailers who sell tobacco products to restrict the sale and marketing of all flavored tobacco products and encourage all law enforcement officers in the City of Vero Beach to vigorously enforce all laws regulating the sale or use of flavored tobacco products to an by youth."

Leslie Spurlock, speaking on behalf of members of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Indian River County, graciously thanked Mayor Fletcher and the City Council Members for supporting such a strong Proclamation. "I commend the City of Vero Beach for recognizing the insidious nature of candy and fruit flavored tobacco, and for standing up for children, adolescents and teens who are targeted daily. Their health depends on you supporting tobacco prevention policies."

TFP Indian River
From L to R: Tina Zayas (Indian River County Health Department), Theresa Woodson (American Cancer Society), and Leslie Spurlock (Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation) address the Vero Beach City Council.

Theresa Woodson of the American Cancer Society also thanked the City Council for supporting youth tobacco prevention efforts. "It's an opportunity to repeat the words of some young children that I had the pleasure of listening to at the Tobacco Free Partnership Meeting. Students Working Against Tobacco presented slogans that they came up with, and the one that really stuck with me is 'Tobacco Free is the Way to Be'. They are starting to understand that they are definitely a target."

Tina Zayas, representing the Indian River County Health Department, also thanked the City Council for "helping us become the healthiest state in the nation, which is our latest mission and vision."

"Can we ban the sale of flavored tobacco products within our convenience stores in the city?" asked Vice Mayor Tracy Carroll.

Leslie Spurlock shared information that a number of communities are exploring that as an option. "I am sure that they are putting it in front of their attorneys."

Mayor Fletcher added that "we might actually want to get a formal written statement, a position statement, from the State Attorney's Office."

Vice Mayor Carroll reiterated "It is against the law to sell these products to our teenagers, and yet its happening at the convenience stores and the mom-and-pop-style convenience stores all throughout our community. What is it that we can do, besides having a policemen in the convenience store making sure that whoever is purchasing that is over legal age? What can we do?"

Leslie Spurlock offered several suggestions while the legal possibilities were being sorted out. "We really want to warn the kids, make sure that the kids know that they're not supposed to be doing that. It's just a matter of awareness. I think one of the things that we may end up doing is also approaching some of the retailers."

A copy of the Proclamation passed by the City of Vero Beach is available here.

The entire presentation and discussion surrounding the Proclamation can be viewed here: