News and Events

City of Okeechobee passes Resolution to Restrict the Sale of Flavored Tobacco Products
May 7, 2013

On May 7, 2013, members of the Okeechobee City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution urging retailers to halt the sale and marketing of flavored tobacco products that are marketed to youth.

The resolution is designed to give retailers some guidance regarding flavored tobacco products that are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

"While the FDA banned the sale of all flavored cigarettes except menthol in 2009," said Dr. Barry Hummel, co-founder of the Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation, "the FDA has not taken any specific steps regarding the sale of flavored cigars, spit tobacco, and electronic cigarettes. The FDA does have the authority to regulate these products, and is currently collecting information to determine the specific rules. This makes local action such as this important until the FDA issues its final guidelines."

Okeechobee City Council

Council Members expressed their concern about the high smoking rates of youth in Okeechobee County after Yearling Middle School SWAT President Savannah Goggans (pictured) gave a presentation that included the local results of the 2012 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. The survey indicated that 27% of Okeechobee high school aged youth has tried tobacco products.

"This is an important step because the flavored tobacco products currently available are preferred by underage minors," said Dr. Hummel. "Half of all Florida high school students that use any form of tobacco are choosing to use these flavored tobacco products."

This City resolution follows a County resolution that was passed in November, 2012.  A big thank you to our SWAT youth who presented at the meetings and to our County and City officials who are serious about taking these important steps to protect our youth from these harmful products.