By October 9, 2017 Read More →

Washington County’s Tobacco Free Partnership approaches Chipley Council about new ordinance ……….

Travis Mask, Monica Rehberg and SWAT members approach the Chipley City Council regarding a Tobacco-Free Sampling and Distribution Ordinance.


by Kathy Foster


Telling the Chipley City Council they are working with community organizations and leaders committed to educating others about tobacco use, helping protect kids from tobacco, and strengthening local policies, especially those that protect the public from secondhand smoke, Mask and Rehberg petitioned the council to enact an ordinance that would prohibit tobacco-free sampling and distribution at any public place within the city limits.


Definition of a ‘public place’ means any area to which the public is invited or in which the public is permitted, including, but not limited to any right-of-way, mall or shopping center, park, playground, and any other property owned by the county and school district, or any park district.


Waht does it mean?  That no persons shall knowingly distribute or furnish without charge, or cause to be furnished or distributed without charge, cigarettes or other tobacco products, electronic delivery devices or coupons for cigarettes or other tobacco products, in any public space or at any event open to the public.


Pointing out that Tobacco Free Florida’s efforts have helped reduce the state cigarette smoking rate to a record low,  the presenters said they would like it to go lower yet.


Tobacco Free Florida points out that many of Florida’s rural counties have a significantly higher smoking rates than the statewide average, including the following:

  •   Gadsden, Hardee, Madison, Okeechobee, Union – 21 percent.
  •   DeSota, Hamilton, Hendry, Holmes, Liberty, Putnam, Suwannee – 20 percent.
  •   Baker, Calhoun, Dixie, Jackson, Lafayette, Washington – 19 percent.


“Tobacco Free Florida has made remarkable progress in the past 10 years; but, too many Floridians, especially our most vulnerable and less fortunate, are still greatly impacted by the burden of tobacco use,” says Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief Kellie O’Dare Wilson Ph.D.    “In many communities across our state, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke are accepted as a fact of life, but they do not have to be.  We want Floridians in every county to know that there is help available and best of all it’s free.”


Thanking the presenters for bringing the information to their attention,  council members turned the sample ordinance over to their attorney and expect to address the ordinance at their Sept. 10th regular monthly meeting.



Posted in: Chipley, Local News