Counter Tools has partnered with Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco-Free Florida since 2013 to survey the retail environment and spread awareness around healthy retail, and in more recent years the work has shifted focus to passing policies.

In January 2019, Alachua County implemented a local tobacco retailer licensing policy, raised the minimum legal sales age for tobacco to 21, and required any new tobacco retailers to be located at least 1000ft away from schools.

Here are some of the strategies that led to their success:

  • Training and message framing on why the retail environment matters
  • Increasing understanding of tobacco retailer licensing and relevant strategies
  • Working closely with independently-led local tobacco-free partnerships and coalitions
  • Providing technical support, data sharing, and a model policy that would help with administration and enforcement of the license
  • Creating maps to help tell the story at a local level, showing the impact of potential policy changes and highlighting smoking inequities
  • Using a “show & tell” strategy to engage the public and make a visceral connection

The Alachua County DOH has since contacted other communities across the United States with similar tobacco retailer licensing policies and similar community characteristics to Alachua County to find best practices for retailer education, compliance checks, and the most effective ways to ensure compliance. As pioneers in Florida, Alachua County is now also in a position to support other Florida counties that are hoping to pass their own tobacco retailer licensing ordinances.

Read the full success story here.


Our partners have achieved great successes in public health. We recognize their hard work and leadership in creating healthier communities. We hope these stories inspire your work around place-based public health. View more Success Stories on Our Impact page.

Do you have a success story to share? Reach out at [email protected]!