By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
Rep. Halsey Beshears was in Madison on Monday, St. Patrick’s Day, to meet with the S.W.A.T. (Students Working Against Tobacco) Team at Madison County Central School.
The Team, along with Preston Matthews of Big Bend AHEC (Area Health Education Center), Ted Ensminger, Tobacco Free Madison Partnership Chair, and MCCS faculty members A.D. Kinsey and Betsy Rykard, presented Beshears with an update on what MCCS, Madison County as a whole and various partnerships with all the tobacco prevention groups is working on in the area of tobacco prevention, as well as a list of what they have already accomplished.
The towns of Madison, Greenville and Lee have all passed resolutions condemning candy-flavored tobacco products and supporting the voluntary efforts of retailers to restrict sales. The partnership has also worked with local retailers to educate them about recently instituted FDA guidelines for marketing and placing tobacco products.
Tobacco Free Madison and the Madison County School District have partnered to strengthen the district-wide tobacco-free campus policy and provide tobacco cessation help to district staff. Nationally sought-after anti-tobacco advocate, Dr. Victor DeNoble, addressed sixth through eighth graders about tobacco prevention and the dangers of tobacco use.
Tobacco Free Madison hosted the Great American Smokeout Golf Event last November, and is looking forward to the 2014 Down Home Days Festival and Rodeo – the only rodeo in Florida with a tobacco-free partnership as its title sponsor.
Investing in tobacco control programs works, both in preventing young people from getting started and in helping people quit. Tobacco Free Madison and S.W.A.T. of MCCS also wished to thank Rep. Beshears for his continued support in their fight against tobacco and tobacco-related illness.
“We are thrilled that Madison County puts the health and well-being of its citizens as a top priority,” they told him.