News and Events

Levy County Tobacco Prevention Advocates Share Information at Local County Legislative Delegation Meeting
October 29 , 2013

On October 29, 2013, the Chair of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County and a representative of the Levy County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) attended the County Legislative Delegation meeting. These tobacco-free leaders presented information to Senator Charlie Dean and Representative Charlie Stone. The presentations emphasized the successes that the Partnership and SWAT have achieved this year in Levy County.

Art Konstantino is the Chair of the Levy Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP), and he prepared a heartfelt speech for the delegates emphasizing his stance on addiction and prevention. He also noted that state preemption of local smoking laws significantly stands in the way of passing local policies to designate parks and other outdoor recreation areas as tobacco-free, which is a personal goal of his.

When asked about his experience interacting with the delegates, Mr. Konstantino described it as “exhilarating.” He also noted that he strongly believes that, “given clear evidence, lawmakers want to embrace what is best for the people.” He adds, “I believe in our officials in the State of Florida. We look forward to working further with our leaders to make our environment safe for everyone.”

Levy Delegation
Left: Art Art Konstantino (L) and Emily Manis (C) meet Representative Charlie Stone;
Right: Emily Manis share her display.

Levy County SWAT representative, Emily Manis, was very excited to present to the delegates, as this was her first experience attending a legislative delegation meeting.

Emily prepared a display board to show during her speech, with pictures illustrating significant achievements the TFP and SWAT have had this year in Levy County. SWAT has over 175 members in five Levy schools and there are a total of eight different community organizations and businesses represented on the partnership, including youth SWAT members and general community members.

Emily highlighted the fact that the TFP and SWAT have helped pass five flavored tobacco resolutions in Levy municipalities this year, for a total of six resolutions to date. She also mentioned other policies that have been recently achieved by the TFP and SWAT, such as a 100% tobacco-free K-12 schools policy, a tobacco-free college campus, and a tobacco-free policy adopted by the local Public Housing Authority.

Overall, the presentations went very well, and the delegation members seemed interested, engaging the presenters with questions and discussion about tobacco use and prevention.

Emily summed up her experience by saying, “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to give such a potentially impactful presentation and I hope that they consider that information when making important decisions regarding tobacco policies that affect youth.”

For more information on the Levy County Tobacco Prevention Program, including information on how to become involved in the Tobacco Free Partnership or Students Working Against Tobacco, please contact the Levy County Tobacco Prevention Specialist, Kristina Zachry, at kzachry@quitdoc.com or 352-577-4309.