Big tobacco is gunning for your kids. If you doubt it, peruse the selections of tobacco products available in stores across the county. With many candy-flavored selections, it’s clear the tobacco industry is on the prowl for new, younger customers.
Here in Calhoun County, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), under the direction of the Calhoun County Health Department, are working harder than ever to help those addicted quit smoking - and educate those who may be considering picking up this deadly habit.
Members of the Calhoun County Tobacco Free Partnership and Tobacco Prevention Program would like to acknowledge two local businesses who have recently joined their efforts. The Texaco station on SR 20 West and Gas Mart on SR 71 have both committed to checking identification to make sure those purchasing tobacco products are of legal age. In addition, they have each placed the “take-a-penny” cups with the Florida Quitline on counters, another way to spread the message that free help is available to those wishing to beat their nicotine addiction.
“Most smokers want to quit,” says Pam McDaniel who heads the Tobacco Prevention Program in Calhoun County. Anyone who calls the Florida Quitline (toll free at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW) can receive free nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches. There is also help available through Calhoun-Liberty Hospital where Wanda Armstrong leads a support group for those trying to stop smoking. Free patches are also offered at the hospital.
SWAT members urge other businesses to get behind their efforts by displaying the Quitline penny cups. If you’d like to get involved, call Pam McDaniel at 674-5645, ext. 236.