News and Events

Dixie County Commission is Considering Smoke-Free Parks
March 2, 2023

On Thursday, March 2, 2023, Amanda NesSmith, DCTFP Co-Chair presented to the Dixie County Board of County Commissioners about the need to pass a Resolution to prohibit smoking and vaping in public beaches and parks.


Amanda contacted the Commissioners’ Office to be put on the agenda for the meeting so that she could address the 2017 Resolution “Supporting Tobacco-Free Recreational and Sports Parks for Adult and Youth in Dixie County, Florida”.  At that time, a resolution was the only legal form that the County Commissioners could express their concerns for the health of their community and protect youth from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke at the County Parks.  Since that time, electronic cigarettes, or vaping, has grown to become an epidemic in all communities among youth.  The ongoing research on these products have begun to show that the aerosol produced by vape products contains at least ten chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.  By standers exposed to vaping aerosol can absorb the nicotine.  Exposure to the fine and ultra-fine particles highly concentrated in the aerosol may exacerbate respiratory aliments like asthma, and constrict arteries which could trigger a heart attack.

House Bill 105, which was signed into legislation in June 2022 grants counties and cities the ability to ban smoking at public parks and beaches.  Amanda shared how HB105 will allow the Dixie County Commissioners to pass an Ordinance in Dixie County that could prohibit all use of tobacco and vaping in the county parks and beaches. 

Amanda shared that an ordinance to ban smoking and vaping at the parks and beaches will further advance public health by reducing second-hand smoke and vape. She also shared that according to the American Poison Control Center reports, nearly 13,000 poisoning cases involving exposure to cigarettes, cigarette butts, vapor-generating devices, or other tobacco products in 2018 and 79% of those cases occurred with children aged 5 years and younger. Reducing contact with the products will result in a decrease chance of poisoning of the youth of Dixie County.

The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County and the Dixie SWAT youth have held two park clean ups in the past few months  One park was a Town of Cross City managed park, that is located behind the Commissioners Office in the Court House.  The other park, Waldo Park, 1950 NE 389th Ave, Old Town, referred as “Spillers Park”.  Waldo Park is owned by Dixie County.  Amanda shared with the County Commissioners about the large freezer bag of tobacco litter that was collected at each park.  These parks were very well maintained and almost no garbage was noticed until walking around them as the kids do when visiting the parks.  That is where cigarette butts were littered.  Every year, an estimated 766,571 metric tons of cigarette butts make their way into the environment.  Cigarette butts are often carried away by rainwater or wastewater as runoff int waterways, where the organic compounds found the them seep into aquatic ecosystems, becoming toxic for fish and other aquatic wildlife.

After the presentation, County Commissioner, Mark Hatch recommended that the County Attorney, Chana Watson, review the previous 2017 resolution and create an ordinance that can be voted on at the next meeting.  All of the county commissioners present voted to approve the recommendation.  The Tobacco Free Partnership of Dixie County will make contact with Mrs. Watson to assist in providing suggestions on creating a strong policy that protects the community.