By Ashley Leon
Springtime Tallahassee is an event that is held once a year in the downtown area of Tallahassee. Each year, thousands of spectators and vendors alike attend the event, which benefits the tourism of our great city. Springtime Tallahassee traditionally starts with a 5K run/walk, followed by the Grand Parade. After the parade, people are free to walk around and view the many vendors, including informational, promotional and of course, great food! Although the day started off a little wet, it eventually turned out to be a beautiful day!
This was not the first year that Tobacco Free Florida was the main sponsor of Springtime Tallahassee. Since we, as Tobacco Free Leon, are a part of Tobacco Free Florida, we had Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) members and staff of the Department of Health walking in the parade.
We gave out balloons that said “Fresh Air for all,” and handed out some of the “Not So Sweet 16” fortune cookies in order to continue passing along the message that Tobacco is NOT so sweet in any form! At the table we had information on how to quit smoking. The “Quit Kits” were a hit; many people were asking how they or even someone they knew could quit smoking.
We also had a trivia game that encouraged guests of all ages to be more aware of the many dangers of tobacco use.
The most popular activity we had on our table was an activity that encouraged everyone to share either how long they have been tobacco free, or why they have quit using tobacco.
Hundreds of people reached out to us, and us to them; it was truly incredible. There were many stories told to us about how some have tried plenty of times to quit smoking. We even had an elderly lady tell us that she has not smoked a cigarette in two days; she also said that she doesn’t plan on putting another cigarette to her mouth, because the cost of cigarettes are getting ridiculous and she has a new born grandbaby. Another testimony overheard during Springtime Tallahassee was that we, Tobacco Free Florida, are the reason she quit smoking. As of that time, she had been tobacco free for about 5 years now. WOW!
I hope we are able to reach out and help many more people in the future, and continue to be a part of such an amazing community event for years to come.
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