News and Events

Levy County SWAT Members Present Before the Bronson Town Council for a Flavored Tobacco Resolution
March 4, 2013

Seniors Ansley Pentz and Casey Ranalli are part of Levy County Students Working Against Tobacco, or SWAT. At the regular Bronson Town Council meeting on March 4th, they told the Council members that tobacco companies have begun marketing flavored products such as dip, snuff, twist tobacco, chewing tobacco, cigarillos, and cigars. The flavors include green apple, cherry, grape, chocolate, mango, and peach, among others. The students presented facts about flavored tobacco products to the members of the Bronson Town Council in the hopes that the Council will pass a resolution concerning the sale of these products.

The students shared the fact that almost 90 percent of tobacco users start before age 18 and that these products are designed specifically to market to teenagers. The students passed around examples of candy flavored cigars and smokeless tobacco, along with actual candy for comparison purposes. The students showed how the tobacco products smell and are packaged to look like candy.

Bronson Town Council

Levy County Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Kristina Zachry, told Council members about the rise of smokeless tobacco and cigar use among Levy County high school students over the past four years. She also shared a map of Florida, which shows the number of counties and cities that have passed similar resolutions to date.  

The Council members voted to have their attorney draft a copy of the resolution specific to Bronson for a second reading and approval to show support for the teens in their fight to have these products banned.

After the meeting, Ms. Zachry said, “The Bronson Town Council seemed to be very supportive of the students’ efforts and they expressed surprise about the existence of these products.”

The SWAT members were featured in a news article on a local news website, www.hardisonink.com, and Casey Ranalli was interviewed along with the Vice-Mayor of Bronson for a local television news station, GTN News. The Vice-Mayor indicated that Bronson may actually be interested in taking this resolution a step further by looking into a product placement ordinance.

In reflecting on the experience, Ansley Pentz said, “Candy flavored tobacco targets youth. The council understood this after seeing how it is marketed and they were extremely receptive to our message.”

Bronson Town Council Hears Testimony of Flavored Tobacco Resolution
(GTN news Gainesville, March 4, 2013)
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