Media Release

Florida Department of Health in Alachua County Receives Community-Based Tobacco Prevention Grant

Friday, July 24, 2015 11:00 AM

This press release put out at the request of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County.

ALACHUA COUNTY, FL - The Florida Department of Health in Alachua County received a grant that began on July 1, 2015, to continue their Tobacco Free Florida program for the next three years. The “Community-Based Tobacco Prevention Interventions” grant is awarded by the Florida Department of Health to one organization in each county to improve the health of Floridians by reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. With this funding the health department will continue to support multiple long-standing tobacco prevention programs including the Tobacco Free Alachua community partnership, and the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) youth leadership program.

Since Tobacco Free Florida first started in 2007, the Tobacco Free Florida program in Alachua County and its counterparts all over Florida have worked to produce impressive results statewide and locally through integrated state, county, and community efforts:

  • Tobacco Free Florida’s free services have helped more than 126,000 Florida adults quit tobacco between July 2007 and June 2014.
  • The reduction in smoking prevalence since the inception of the Tobacco Free Florida program in 2007 has helped the state save approximately $11.9 billion in personal health care costs.
  • The high school smoking rate in Florida has dropped from 14.5 percent in 2008 to just 7.5 percent in 2014. Alachua County’s rates are even lower at 5.6 percent.
  • The rate of exposure to secondhand smoke among high school students in Alachua County has dropped significantly from 57.9 percent in 2008 to 37.6 percent in 2014.
  • The School Board of Alachua County has implemented 12 out of 12 Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations  for tobacco free schools benefiting over 28,000 local children and youth and more than 4,000 employees.

In addition to this progress, the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County has helped dozens of local housing communities, businesses, and organizations as varied as The Arc of Alachua County, Sandvik Mining and Construction, Holy Trinity Episcopal School, and Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. to create tobacco free residences and worksites for thousands of Alachua County residents.

“We’re proud of what we’ve done to make Alachua County a healthier place to live, play, and do business,” stated Paul Myers, Administrator of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County. “Over the next three years our Tobacco Free Florida program will be engaging new partners to create tobacco free worksites, and communities for Alachua County businesses and families.”

Businesses, organizations or rental housing communities wanting to go tobacco free should contact the Tobacco Free Florida program at 352-334-7914 or

The mission of the Florida Department of Health in Alachua County is to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.


  • Mark Sexton
  • Communications & Legislative Affairs Director
  • Phone: 352-374-5204
  • Cell: 352-283-2317

If you have a disability and need an accommodation in order to participate in a County program, service or public meeting, please contact the Alachua County Equal Opportunity Office at 352-374-5275 at least 2 business days prior to the event. TTY users please call 711 (Florida Relay Service).