News and Events

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County Celebrated Tobacco Free Florida Week Virtually!
June 10, 2020

Every year, Tobacco Free Florida Week aims to spotlight the importance of tobacco control in our state – whether it is helping adults quit tobacco, preventing youth initiation, or protecting Floridians from secondhand smoke. This year, The Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida, The Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County and other tobacco prevention experts are directing their attention to e-cigarette use (aka vaping) among youth. Youth Vaping has increased dramatically across the country, including Florida and even in Highlands County.

With the vaping trend continuously rising in schools across Highlands County, the Tobacco Free Partnership and SWAT youth wanted to showcase Tobacco Free Florida Week by flooding youth and adults with information on the dangers of electronic cigarettes and vaping. However, in light of everything happening in the world, the country and in Florida right now- in particular the limitations on movement, people practicing social distancing, and school closures- SWAT and The TFP felt it was necessary to limit the promotion of this years Tobacco Free Florida Week.

However, SWAT and the TFP were determined to get Tobacco Free Florida Week in the minds of our educational institutions, to our partners and to parents in Highlands County. Instead of planning school and community-based celebrations for Tobacco Free Florida Week, we took to this task virtually, by sending an email that highlighted how the e-epidemic has not gone away and also promoted the new materials from Tobacco Free Florida. The emails also included a handout on what parents and educators need to know about youth vaping, which included tips and resources for combating the e-epidemic.

In 2018, about 25 percent of Florida high school students reported current use of electronic vaping—a 58 percent increase compared to 2017. The FDA has stated that flavors play an important role in driving the youth appeal, thus new findings show that one in four Florida high school students are vaping.

“It is definitely a strange and scary time right now. With COVID-19 at the forefront of our minds, it has made it more difficult to promote tobacco prevention in our community,” Said Amanda John, Community Health Advocate. “However, we will continue to work towards a healthier community by increasing education, pushing for stricter regulation and celebrating tobacco prevention holidays such as Tobacco Free Florida Week.”

Residents in Highlands County can access Tobacco Free Florida’s Quit Your Way program for free tools and services to help them quit. More than 188,000 Floridians have successfully quit tobacco using one of these free services. For more information on quitting, please visit or visit for other local tobacco initiatives and information.