Leon Students And County Officials Push Healthy Living and No Smoking

Sep 17, 2012

Students and local officials are continuing on with their campaign to for healthier living. That includes getting students to cut back on sugary drinks and not smoke. The group took its message to Leon County High School Monday.

Raekwan Williams is a Leon County High School student, and member of SWAT—Students Working Against Tobacco. It’s a statewide organization aimed at getting students to stop smoking or never start. And he says he’s pleased with a resolution by the Leon County Commission that banned candy-flavored cigarettes. But he says the county needs to go further:

“Leon County has seen a drop in youth cigarette usage. Unfortunately, we’ve seen an increase in cigar and smokeless tobacco usage since they are still candy-flavored. Today I must say to my peers there’s nothing cool about a candy flavored death wish.”   

Statewide, the rate of students smoking in high school has fallen by about 23 percent since 2010. Today only about four-percent of students use tobacco products, according to the Florida Department of Health. The state says the decline is due to its anti-smoking campaign, Tobacco Free Florida. But Dr. Kevin Frentz, a board member with the Leon County Youth Advisory Board, says the state’s efforts should go further—he says more needs to be done to target college students.

“We have developed what we call a “healthy campus, 20/20 student task force, and that task force, the focus is on tobacco, just because we have momentum going with that and it also—it’s the number one preventable cause of illness and death.”   

The anti-smoking campaign is part of a larger push aimed at healthy living. The main program is called  95210—a play on numbers designed to help people remember to get nine hours of sleep, five servings of fruits and veggies a day, 2 hours or less of recreational TV and computer time, 1 hour of exercise, and zero consumption of tobacco and sugary drinks.