News and Events

Levy County Presents to Tobacco Advisory Council on Policy Success
February 5, 2018

On February 5, 2018, the Tobacco Advisory Council (TAC) held their quarterly meeting in Tallahassee. The TAC was established in Section 381.84 of the Florida Statutes in 2007. The TAC is comprised of 23 members, with the State Surgeon General serving as the chair of the group. The main goal of the TAC is to offer advice to the Surgeon General on the direction and scope of the Comprehensive Statewide Tobacco Education and Use Prevention Program.

As such, Council members often are tasked with hearing presentations related to program outcomes. Levy County has been successful in the Rural Community Interventions Goal Area, so we were asked to present to the TAC on our success with passing a Tobacco Free Levy County Fair Policy.

Levy County has two Statewide Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) members: Laycee Hallman and Emma Ronchetti. Laycee is a senior at Williston High School and Emma is a sophomore at Chiefland High School. Together, they gave a presentation to the TAC members as a part of an overall Rural Community Interventions presentation.

The presentation highlighted the process that the Tobacco Free Partnership of Levy County and Students Working Against Tobacco members have taken to work with the Levy County Fair Board of Directors over the past 8 years to move in the direction of a formal policy change. Last summer, Laycee presented to the Fair Board and they unanimously voted to establish a Tobacco Free Fair policy. This year, the fair will be held on April 5-8, 2018, and the partnership is sponsoring the event as well as attending with SWAT members to share information with attendees and support the new policy implementation.

The honor of presenting to statewide decision makers was a first for Levy SWAT YAB members – they often present to decision makers locally. When asked about her experience at the meeting, Laycee Hallman said, “It was incredibly inspiring - being able to present in front of all those very important people felt amazing. Every single person who attended the meeting was so supportive.”  






Laycee Hallman (Left) and Emma Ronchetti (Right) pose with State Surgeon General, Dr. Celeste Philip.

Emma Ronchetti also summed up her experience at the meeting perfectly. Emma said, “When we were done presenting and they told us how much we were achieving in our humble Levy County, it made me feel a real sense of accomplishment.” She continued, “I got to witness firsthand how these meetings run, and how much work goes into ending tobacco addiction. I realized that SWAT may just be a club of kids, but we are a club supported by very passionate adults who want to lead us in the right direction. Everyone I met was so kind and truly believed that I could make a difference, just like them.”