Health advocate speaks at chamber breakfast
BY DAN HILDEBRAN
KEYSTONE HEIGHTS — Jenna Hewett, Community Health Advocate for the QuitDoc Foundation, spoke at the February Keystone membership meeting of the North Florida Regional Chamber of Commerce.
QuitDoc has been awarded community-based tobacco prevention grants in 12 Florida counties, including Clay and Bradford.
Hewett gave the gathering at the Keystone Inn an update on her’s and other advocates’ efforts to stem the growth of tobacco sales, especially to youth.
She said her organization is now focusing on point-of-sale advertising at local retailers, including outdoor signs that promote tobacco products.
“You can’t even pump your gas without seeing these types of things,” she said of images promoting tobacco. “They actually have these advertisements on the gas pumps.”
Hewett said that when she first started working at QuitDoc, she did not understand why tobacco opponents complained about retail signage, until she took her two-year-old daughter on a shopping trip.
“We walk up to the counter to pay,” she recalled, “and I look down at her…and I see a sign right at her eye level that I would have never noticed, because it’s at her eye level.”
Hewett told the group tobacco companies pay retailers to display the signs.
She also informed the business leaders about new products companies are marketing, including flavored smokeless tobacco and electronic cigarettes.