News and Events

Community Tobacco Control is a Partnership
June 6, 2017

If you believe “it takes a village to raise a child”, then you should know it takes partnerships to create community tobacco control changes. QuitDoc’s Tobacco Prevention Program seeks partnerships to educate the community and inspire community members to implement tobacco control policies. These types of environmental tobacco controls (i.e. no smoking within 25’ of buildings) protect the health of everyone in the community, but they start with individuals who become partners with the Tobacco Prevention Program.

Some people become tobacco prevention partners because they are adversely affected by secondhand smoke and are intent upon making a change in their homes. Why should there be smoke-free multiunit (apartments and condos) housing? Did you know 84% of Floridians don’t smoke? Apartment and condo owners as well as property managers are also starting to take notice of the financial benefits of smoke-free units. A partnership can begin with the apartment manager repairing fire-damaged units started by careless smokers, or with one who believes in a tobacco policy, but doesn’t know how to get started. In either case, partnering with the tobacco prevention program provides owners and managers opportunities to develop tobacco control policies that will work best for their situation. Many identified smoke-free units in the County, are retirement facilities, but not all. Florida Baptist Retirement, St. Francis Manor, Brookdale, and Indian River Estates, all have policies prohibiting smoking indoors. Partnerships with apartment owners, like Steve Rennick and Suncoast Realty Management, resulted the adoption of 100% tobacco-free grounds policies as an amenity for tenants.

Who wouldn’t like to enjoy a little league game or recreational facility that is smoke and aerosol free? Governments and Recreation facilities are partnering with the Tobacco Prevention Program to learn tobacco control covers more than traditional cigarette smoking. Youth use of smokeless (dip or chew) tobacco that was traditionally linked to sports by the tobacco industry, has not decreased much over the past decade. And electronic cigarette use (vaping and exhaling the aerosol) has increased dramatically. After learning more about the harmful effects of these products, Historic Dodgertown and the City of Vero Beach have both embraced “no dipping, no vaping, no smoking” with policy signage at their ball fields and facilities. With the tobacco industry spending billions advertising at the point of sale, it is imperative that partners communicate their own anti-tobacco messages to ‘knock tobacco out of the park’!

Although indoor work environments have been smoke-free for years, employee use of tobacco is still affecting employers. Smokers taking extra breaks can negatively affect the morale of other employees and results in lost productivity for the employer. Employers partnering with the Tobacco Prevention Program have made changes to improve the health of their employees and their bottom line by learning how to implement a tobacco free work site. With new tobacco products being introduced, it’s critical to review and improve tobacco control policies in the work place. The School District of Indian River County, Senior Resource Center, Chive Restaurant/Wild Thyme Catering (and soon the Green Marlin Restaurant), Piper Aircraft, Indian River Medical Center, the Health Department, and Indian River County Government have over the past five years, created or improved tobacco control policies for their employees.

Do youth in our county know the truth about tobacco products? Do you know they are influenced three times more than adults by billions of dollars of tobacco industry marketing? They are targeted at gas stations, convenience stores, and one pharmacy chain at check out and beyond. If they attend Oslo, Sebastian River or Storm Grove Middle Schools, they have the opportunity to learn about the high cost of tobacco; on a personal, professional, financial and global level through SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) Clubs. It happens when a caring adult has partnered with the Tobacco Prevention Program and gets the resources and support to lead students to the truth about tobacco use. These lucky SWAT students share what they learn with peers and adults. During nationally recognized tobacco control observances they gain confidence and skills by speaking before City Councils and County Commissioners. Students who invest time in SWAT have opportunities to become regional and state SWAT leaders which builds leadership skills and prepares them for college.

No matter where in the County you live, work, play, or attend school, the Tobacco Prevention Program is working with partners to give you the opportunity to live a tobacco-free life.

For more information on becoming a part of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Indian River County, contact Leslie Spurlock at