Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County Turns 5!
August 26, 2013

In 2008, Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation obtained funding to establish the Tobacco Free Partnership of Martin County.  The Partnership held its first meeting on August 26, 2008, and thanks to the efforts of the partnership members, advisory council, SWAT advisors, students, and partnership staff – there is much to celebrate!

When the partnership began, about 15% of Martin County middle and high school youths had used a tobacco product at least once.  By 2012, that number was cut in half with only 7% reporting tobacco use.  Much of this success is contributed to the active SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) Clubs at each of the Martin County middle and high schools and the Boys & Girls Clubs.  The Clubs spread awareness about tobacco marketing tactics and the dangers of tobacco use at their school campuses and throughout the community. 

Prevention Works!

Some of the projects they’ve been involved with in Martin County include poster contests, anti-tobacco bookmarks, participation in tobacco observances like “Through with Chew Week,” and presentations to different groups about emerging tobacco issues.  SWAT Youth from Martin County High School have been instrumental in local legislative issues, like the Candy Flavored Tobacco Resolutions passed by both the County Commission and the City of Stuart Commission.

The County and City passed resolutions urging retailers to stop the sale and marketing of candy flavored tobacco products to prevent youth marketing by the tobacco industry as a result of SWAT and Partnership efforts.

Martin BOCC Meeting
The Tobacco Free Partnership and Martin County SWAT Celebrate the passage of a
County Resolution requsting restrictions on the sale of flavored tobacco products in September 2011.

The partnership has also worked with employers throughout the County to implement the 3 Ways to Quit program and employer benefits for non-smokers.  Programs like the 3 Ways to Quit increase employee productivity and decrease time lost through sick days and smoking breaks.  Employers are also able to save on their insurance costs, and employees who are attempting to quit are afforded the added benefit of a support network in their workplace.

Over the past 5 years, the partnership has teamed up with local prevention programs like Project Northland and the Shared Services Network to reduce the number of new smokers as part of the broader prevention efforts among Martin County youth.  Tobacco is often a “gateway drug” leading to drug experimentation among middle and high school aged youth.

The partnership meets quarterly and invites the public to join their efforts towards the creation of tobacco-free social norms through a combination of community education, youth advocacy, and changes in local tobacco policies.

For more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership, contact us at info@tfp-martin.org.