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Is There a Quitter in You?
The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County and Alan Jay Automotive Network Commemorate the Great American Smokeout

Sebring, Fla. - The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County, part of the statewide Tobacco Free Florida program, had a message for tobacco users during this year’s Great American Smokeout: There is a Quitter In You!

The purpose of the annual Great American Smokeout, observed this year on Thursday, Nov. 15, is to set aside a day for smokers to find their inner “quitter”. This observance, currently in its 37th year, is sponsored by the American Cancer Society.  The event is designed to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and the many effective resources available to successfully quit.

“The most important step a smoker can take for a healthier and longer life is to quit smoking,” said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong. “We urge Floridians to take advantage of our resources, and what better time to do so than during the Great American Smoke out. The American Cancer Society has been an invaluable partner in our efforts to help smokers quit.”

During this year’s Great American Smokeout, local members of Students Working Against Tobacco Club (SWAT), met at the Alan Jay Chevrolet Dealership to pick up cigarette butts around the dealership. Tatiana Matos, president of the Sebring High School SWAT Club, and two other members, Hailey Mitchell and volunteer, Anthony Rutigliano collected four Ziploc baggies of “butts.” Joining the SWAT club members were Patrice Ayala, the local Tobacco Prevention Specialist for The Partnership and Julie Giordano, the SWAT Club advisor.

“The SWAT Club is very grateful to the Alan Jay Automotive Network for being a willing participant in this national observance and encouraging their employees to ‘Quit for a day’,” said Patrice Ayala, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist in Highlands County.

SWAT and Alan Jay Staff

Members of Highland County Students Working Against Tobacco
and Alan Jay Automotive Staff Promote Tobacco Cessation.
From Left to Right: Anthony Rutigliano, Joe Gagland, Hailey Mitchell, Domenick Benvenuto,
Tatiana Matos, Dennis Albert, Jeff Johnson, Joel Timmons

The Tobacco Free Partnership encourages smokers to make a quit plan during any quit attempt. “A comprehensive quit plan is key to quitting for good, and studies have shown that choosing a quit date in the future and making a quit plan in advance of that date can greatly improve your chances of overcoming nicotine addiction,” said Dr. Barry Hummel, the co-founder of Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation.  The Foundation funds the Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County through a grant from the Florida Department of Health.

For more information on the work of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County, visit  For more information of resources available to help Florida residents quit smoking, visit