News and Events

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County is Making Plans for the 2020-2021 Year
September 9, 2020

The mission of the Dixie County Tobacco-Free Partnership is to mobilize community partners to establish long-lasting system and policy changes that promote tobacco-free social norms in order to prevent usage of tobacco products by youth/young adults, encourage and support tobacco cessation, eliminate health hazards of secondhand and third-hand smoke, with the ultimate goal of thereby decreasing the number of deaths due to tobacco products in Dixie County. The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County has held quarterly meeting at the Dixie County High School since 2009.

The motivation of the partnership members is based on the tobacco use rates in Dixie County. According to the 2018 Florida Tobacco Youth Survey reported 47% of Dixie Youth have tried a tobacco product, 10.8% are current smokeless tobacco users, 13% are current ENDS users, and 9.2% are current cigarette users.  The 2016 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) reported that 23.1% of Dixie County residents were current smokers. 

The partnership works to address their mission of goals by developing and/or sustain core infrastructures of tobacco prevention and control activities, and promote usage of the Florida Quit Your Way Program, in a culturally competent manner to deliver services that include diverse service providers represented in all goal areas.  These service providers, which include Dixie County health department, schools public and private, businesses and business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, health care systems and providers, law enforcement, local and statewide non-profit agencies such as the Dixie Rotary, the Dixie Anti-Drug Coalition, and others are recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2014 Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs (CDC Best Practices)

This year the partnership Chairwoman is Mrs. Lola Butler.  Mrs. Butler has attended every quarterly partnership meeting, facilitated each meeting agenda, promoted the partnership policy work and supported many of the SWAT activities.  The Co-Chair, Mrs. Angie Land continued in her position for the past four years.  The partnership has a very large, active youth membership.  The youth provide so much information on the increase use of new tobacco products and Electronic Nicotine Delivery Devices (Vaping).  All of the local decision makers appreciate the input on tobacco policies from the youth.

Goals of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County include:

Reduce Smokeless Tobacco Use in Rural Communities (Rural): Tobacco free Events, Tobacco Free Venues, and Policy to Prohibit Industry Smokeless Sponsorship. In March 2019, the partnership worked with the Dixie Horseman’s Association Club to adopt a tobacco free venue policy at the rodeo arena and a Policy to prohibit sponsorships or advertising from the tobacco industry. The partnership will be educating and training the Suwannee River Livestock Youth Fair Grounds on the need to adopt a tobacco free venue policy.  

Counteract Tobacco Product Marketing at the Retail Point of Sale (POS): In April 2019, the partnership was able to work with the Dixie Board of County Commissioners and the county attorney to pass an ordinance to restrict the sale of tobacco products 1,000 feet of a Dixie County School. This policy will reduce youth access to tobacco products and decrease exposure to tobacco branded advertisements. The partnership will be working with the Dixie County Commissioners on the need to adopt a Tobacco Retail License that will help monitor the local tobacco retailers compliance with Dixie County tobacco ordinances, to ensure that the county will have the authority to enforce the federally 21 minimum age to purchase tobacco and to provide a local authority to monitor e-cigarette retailers that is currently not being done by the state via retail licensing.

Policy to Create Tobacco Free Worksites: The partnership has worked with several worksites on the need to create a tobacco free worksite.  Dixie County, Town of Cross City and the Dixie County School Board all assessed their current health insurance plan for cessation services.  The partnership also partnered with the Dixie County High School Principal to purchase and post No Tobacco/No Vape signs at the new school.  They also worked with private worksites such as Cheek’s Pharmacy and the new Cross City Lumber on assessing their tobacco policies and how to create a tobacco free worksite and promoted usage of the Florida Quit Your Way Program to employees. The 2020-21 goal is to continue to work with all the K-12 schools in Dixie County to adopt all of the 12 components of a tobacco free school policy.  The partnership has requested to provide No Tobacco/No Vaping signs at the new location of the Character Private School in Cross City. 

In 2019-20, the Tobacco Free Partnership sponsored several community events to promote tobacco free policies.  These events include: the Cross City Tree Lighting by the Town of Cross City, the Father/Daughter Dance by the Dixie Rotary, the Dixie Little League Season, and the Cross City Fly-In and Business Expo by the Dixie Chamber of Commerce.  Each event adopted tobacco free venue policies and promoted the policies throughout the events. This 2020-21 year will create some new opportunities and challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the partnership is looking forward to meet each challenge with great community support.

For information on the Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County contact Melanie Anderson, the Dixie County Tobacco Prevention Specialist at or 352-256-1061