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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Tobacco Free Columbia

Florida Department of Health in Columbia County

Tobacco Information 

Image of a cigarette butt

Tobacco addiction is among the leading preventable causes of morbidity and mortality in Florida and in the United States. Cigarette use, alone, results in an estimated 430,000 deaths each year in the US, including 28,700 deaths in Florida.

Tobacco use is the single largest cause of preventable premature death in the United States. The list of illnesses caused by tobacco use is long and contains many of the most common causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer and lung, and vascular diseases. The tobacco industry spends close to $1 billion in Florida annually to market its products.

Electronic Cigarettes 

Image of an e-cigarette

While the makers of e-cigarettes claim they are safe, the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida is wary of any perceived benefits to using these products and advises consumers to wait for reliable scientific evidence to become available before using e-cigarettes. Without scientific evidence from credible sources, Tobacco Free Florida cannot endorse e-cigarettes as a beneficial step for smokers who are attempting to quit. For more information on e-cigarettes, visit Tobacco Free Florida's website.

The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program 

Tobacco Free Florida Columbia County
The Tobacco Prevention & Control Program in Columbia County receives grant money to mobilize the community to establish policies supporting long-term, social norm change. The major goals of this grant are to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use among youth, adults, and pregnant women; reduce per capita tobacco consumption; reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and reduce tobacco-related disparities in Columbia County. Program funding is received through Amendment #4, requiring the funding of a Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Prevention Program, which can be found in Florida Statutes 381.84.

Tobacco Free Columbia Partnership 

Tobacco Free Columbia

The Partnership is a county-wide, locally organized group committed to saving lives and improving the overall health and well-being of residents and visitors by reducing and/or eliminating use of tobacco products. The Partnership is comprised of community members who advocate policy changes and educate decision makers about the impact of tobacco on all of our lives.

Prevention of the initiation of tobacco use

Protection from secondhand tobacco smoke

Promotion of tobacco cessation

SWAT Club - Students Working Against Tobacco 

SWAT Students Working Against Tobacco
Youth can get involved by joining Students Working Against Tobacco. SWAT membership is open to Columbia County students at Lake City Middle School, Richardson Middle School, Fort White Middle School, Fort White High School and Columbia High School SWAT membership allows young people to become advocates for change of the tobacco norm of Columbia County. SWAT members are involved in educating the public through public speaking and by participating in parades and other community events and activities.

Resources to Help You Quit Tobacco 

Quitline 1-877-U-CAN-NOW
The Florida Quitline: Promoting cessation from tobacco use is a main concern for the Tobacco Education and Prevention Program. The Florida QUITLINE at 877-U-CAN-NOW offers free telephone counseling and free nicotine replacement therapy (patches, lozenges and gum) www.quitnow.net/florida

Suwannee River Area Health Education Center

Suwannee River Area Health Education Center (AHEC): AHEC holds free IQuit group counseling classes Quit Smoking Now (QSN), a six week program and a one time, two hour class called Tools to Quit (TTQ). Both programs cover all forms of tobacco from cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes to smokeless tobacco. Participants in the class receive support, guidance, and a free one month supply of nicotine replacement therapy, such as nicotine patches, lozenges, and gum. To set yourself free from tobacco visit our website at www.ahectobacco.com or call toll free 1-866-341-2730 to find a class near you.

Tobacco Free Florida:  www.tobaccofreeflorida.com

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids: www.tobaccofreekids.org

Good Reasons for Quitting Tobacco 

3 Easy and Free Ways to Quit - Talk to a quit coach who can help you quit tobacco. 1-877-U-CAN-Now. 1-877-822-6669. Online help quitting tobacco is only a few clicks away. www.quitnow.net/florida. Looking for local face-to-face help? Find a center near you. www.ahectobacco.com.

Quitting tobacco is one of the most important things you will ever do:

  • You will live longer and live better.
  • Quitting will lower your chance of having a heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
  • If you are pregnant, quitting smoking will improve your chances of having a healthy baby.
  • The people you live with, especially your children, will be healthier.
  • You will have extra money to spend on things other than tobacco.

Five Keys for Quitting: Studies have shown that these five steps will help you quit and quit for good. You have the best chances of quitting if you use them together:

  • Get Ready: Set a quit date.
  • Get Support: Talk to family, friends, and your health care provider. Get individual, group, or telephone counseling. Or you can call the Florida Department of Health in Columbia County Tobacco Prevention about programs in your area.
  • Learn New Skills and Behaviors: Change your routine. Go for a walk. Drink lots of water. Plan something enjoyable to do every day.
  • Get Medication and Use It Correctly: Medications can help you stop smoking and lessen the urge to smoke. Ask your health care provider for advice and carefully read the information on the package. Everyone who is trying to quit may benefit from using a medication. If you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, nursing, under age 18, smoking fewer than 10 cigarettes per day, or have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or other health care provider before taking medications.
  • Be Prepared for Relapse or Difficult Situations: Most relapses occur within the first 3 months after quitting. Don't be discouraged if you start smoking again. Remember, most people try several times before they finally quit.

Hare are some difficult situations to watch for:

  • Alcohol: Avoid drinking alcohol. Drinking lowers your chances of success.
  • Other smokers: Being around smoking can make you want to smoke.
  • Weight gain: Many smokers will gain weight when they quit, usually less than 10 pounts. Eat a healthy diet and stay active. Don't let weight gain distract you from your main goal - quitting smoking. Some quit smoking medications may help delay weiht gain.
  • Bad mood or depression - There are a lot of ways to improve your mood other than smoking.