News and Events

Dixie County Passes Ordinance to Protect Students from Tobacco Marketing Near School Campuses
April 18, 2019

In August of 2018 the Dixie County High School opened the new school location.  The new high school is located off Highway 19 and close to the Dixie Health Department, the Dixie County Little League Fields, the Cross City Airport and several churches.  There are currently no tobacco retailers within 1,000 feet of any Dixie County Schools. During the previous summer, a retailer that was within a 1,000 feet of the old high school was charged with selling smokeless tobacco to a minor.  This information plus the Florida Youth Tobacco Survey Data from 2018 that 45.6% of Dixie County Youth reported to have tried some form of tobacco and/or vaping and 31.1% are current users of some form of tobacco and/or vaping, led the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County to discuss the need for a policy change in Dixie County.

The density of tobacco retailers near schools is associated with the tobacco use behaviors of the people who live or study in that neighborhood. One explanation for this relationship is that students of high tobacco retailer density areas have greater physical access to tobacco products, and therefore reduces costs, which can increase consumption.  Students in these areas are exposed to more branded advertisements for tobacco products at stores, which can stimulate demand and increase tobacco use.  The US tobacco companies collectively spend over $7 billion each year marketing and promoting tobacco products in stores. Thus, the presence of tobacco retailers near schools puts students at particular risk in school areas with high tobacco outlet density, smoking experimentation and prevalence are higher, and students are more likely to report buying their own cigarettes rather than getting them from a friend or other sources.

In February 2019, the Tobacco Free Partnership and SWAT presented to the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners about the need to protect the students in Dixie County School from tobacco.  The partnership members shared with the commissioners that by implementing a policy to restrict the sale of tobacco near schools, it could substantially reduce the number and density of tobacco retail outlets that could lead to reducing tobacco use rate among the youth in Dixie County. The commissioners asked the County Attorney to work with the Partnership to write a policy.    

On April 18, 2019, the Dixie Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to adopt Ordinance NO. :2019-03, an ordinance restricting the sale of tobacco within 1,000 feet of all Dixie County Schools.  During the second reading there were no concerns shared by residents of Dixie County. The ordinance wording had been advertised in the Dixie County Advocate the previous two weeks.  The Dixie County Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Melanie Anderson, Dixie County High School SWAT Advisor, Wendy Hutchison, and SWAT President, Jordan Butler attended the County Commissioners Meeting to thank the Board and the county attorney for adopting the policy to reduce youth access to tobacco products, and decrease exposure to tobacco branded advertisements.


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Prev Med. 2008 Aug;47(2):210-4. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.04.008. Epub 2008 Apr 29. Is adolescent smoking related to the density and proximity of tobacco outlets and retail cigarette advertising near schools?  Henriksen L1, Feighery EC, Schleicher NC, Cowling DW, Kline RS, Fortmann SP.