News and Events

Tobacco Free Events Gaining in Popularity
March 8, 2019

There are numerous benefits for communities that host tobacco free events. First and foremost, tobacco free event policies protect the community from the deadly effects of secondhand smoke, demonstrate to youth that tobacco use is not the norm, and support those who have chosen to quit. Being tobacco free ensures that events are more accessible for all, especially elders or others who live with asthma or are recovering from cancer or other chronic diseases that require them to avoid secondhand smoke.

Additionally, tobacco free events are not only safer due to reduced fire risk, but they cost less, requiring less clean up time and expense. Being tobacco free also attracts new audiences and increases attendance since most Floridians don’t use tobacco and prefer smoke free places.

Finally, in addition to providing good role modeling for youth, tobacco free events help them to avoid peer pressure and the tobacco industry’s marketing.

  Many events across Florida have become tobacco free, and locally several widely attended events have made the choice to become tobacco free with support from the Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP) of Levy County. The partnership has been involved as a participant and/or sponsor for the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts festival in Cedar Key for the past 10 years. This festival has been voted as one of the "Top Ten Best Art Fairs in America" and last year, an estimated 18,000-20,000 people visited Cedar Key to attend. In 2017, the Board of Directors for the arts festival passed a formal policy to designate the event as tobacco free, with two designated tobacco use areas away from the crowds. As the annual "Art in the Park" Sponsor, the Tobacco Free Partnership directly supports the children's art activities as well as provides education and supports a safe and tobacco free environment for families. This year’s festival takes place on March 30-31, 2019 and will mark the third year the festival is tobacco free.    

Similarly, for the past 9 years the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County has participated in the Levy County Fair as a sponsor and/or as a vendor with a booth to share cessation resources with attendees as well as information on the dangers of exposure to secondhand smoke and the importance of tobacco free policies. In late 2017, the Levy County Fair Board voted to create a tobacco free fair with designated tobacco use areas away from the crowds. This year the Levy County Fair takes place April 4-7, 2019 and it will mark the second year that the fair will be tobacco free.

These events provide a great opportunity to reduce tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure in Levy County. Youth and adult partnership members support the events by setting up a booth in a prominent location on the event grounds to engage and educate the diverse crowd of parents, community members, youth, and decision makers about tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery devices, and secondhand smoke issues. Organizers for both events have had positive feedback about the policies, with tobacco users appreciating the fact that the policy helped them avoid using tobacco for the day and consider cessation. Many families have expressed being grateful that they don’t have to worry about their children or elderly family members being exposed to tobacco use and secondhand smoke.      

The Tobacco Free Partnership would like to work with other large and small events in Levy County to assist with passing and implementing tobacco free policies. There are several resources we have available to strategically plan, pass, communicate, implement, and evaluate a tobacco free policy. If your organization or event would like more information about becoming a tobacco free site or community event, please contact the partnership by emailing us at info@levy-tfp.org or call 352-577-4309.