News and Events

The Town of Cross City Makes History!
By Thomas Harrington, Policy Manager, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation

On April 11, 2011, the Cross City Council passed a resolution “intended to discourage the placement, sale, and delivery of candy flavored tobacco products to persons under the age of 18.”  Other local communities have passed similar resolutions around the state of Florida but for this to happen in Dixie County is a watershed moment that has remarkable significance. 

For years, Dixie County had notoriously led the state in tobacco use amongst youth. It’s a well-known fact that about 90% of new tobacco users are between the ages of 12 and 18.  The tobacco companies know this and market new products with fruity candy flavors to catch their attention and get them hooked.  Anyone who’s ever even opened a can of flavored Snus or dip, or smelled a little grape cigar, knows how enticing the aroma is, not to mention the actual clever packaging of the products themselves.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has thus recently enabled states and local governments to take action by providing the capability to draft legislation to restrict the placement, sale, and delivery of these types of deceiving products. 

Prior to the Town of Cross City taking action on this matter, the SWAT youth and Quit Doc’s Tobacco Prevention Specialist shared a powerful presentation to city officials on the different candy-flavored products easily accessible to youth.  These tobacco products come in all sorts of flavors ranging from apple to cherry to even wine-flavored.  Their placement at different retail outlets in the community ranges from being in front of and beside of the cash register as well as other self-serving areas that are easy to reach.

Even some adults do not recognize that these are tobacco because of their fruity or candy-like characteristics.  Other adults, who do recognize that they’re tobacco products, think they may be a safer alternative to cigarettes for their children and teenagers.  That is definitely not the case as candy-flavored tobacco is just as addictive, if not more addictive, for young people.  It’s become the norm that many places can typically put candy-flavored tobacco out in reach just like gum or candy.   The harm that these products cause for a lifetime however necessitates a change in the social norms.  

The city officials of Cross City recognized this as an issue with key implications for youth.  City Councilwoman Kay Harden, a grandparent and former smoker, said that she backs the goals of SWAT youth and keeping these products out of reach and sight for the sake of youth.  The council publicly resolved that no vendors should place candy-flavored tobacco in any self-service merchandising area.  This means any open area that allows direct public access of the product whether it’s on a case, rack, shelf, booth, table, desk, stand, kiosk, or any other surface that falls under such access.   It’s very important that young people do not have the ability to reach or touch these products (which they do for gum, candy, toys, and other items) because then it would be associated as normal or acceptable.

If vendors comply with the resolution it will not only change the social norms but will enhance the “public health, safety, and welfare” of Cross City.   Fewer youth will become addicted to tobacco meaning less of a public cost to society and less of a burden on people’s own health down the road. 

In fact, since tobacco can be a gateway to illicit drug use, the society’s well-being and safety will be positively affected as well.  As one can see, there is definitely a multitude of good reasons to enact such a resolution in our community.  We’re very thankful that the Town of Cross City has taken this pivotal step in the right direction and hope it serves as a distinguished model for many other communities to do the same.  

Cross City Resolution

Supporters of the new Cross City Resolution From Left to Right: 
Chelsy Cannon, Ariel Cassidy, Dixie County High School SWAT Advisor Jodi Spurlin,  Cross City Mayor Dot Smith, Dixie County Tobacco Prevention Specialist
Melanie Anderson, and Ariel Neiss.