News and Events

SWAT is Making a Difference in Gilchrist County and Throughout the State of Florida

Students Working Against Tobacco clubs are established to give young people in Gilchrist County the opportunity to speak out in the community to let people know the ways in which tobacco companies target them and their friends to become replacement customers for the 430,000 people who die from tobacco related illness each year.  SWAT youth take this message seriously since approximately 90% of all smokers report that they started smoking before the age of 18.  These youth are dedicated to educating and advocating for policies that will help other youth stay tobacco-free for life.

Gilchrist County SWAT youth are active members of the Tobacco Free Partnership of Gilchrist County (TFP), and some are in leadership positions as well. As part of the Partnership, SWAT youth have the opportunity to discuss community issues related to tobacco with adult volunteers and community decision makers on a regular basis.  In Gilchrist County, the TFP functions as a true youth-adult partnership where adults act as mentors and youth are encouraged to use their skills in the group and the community.


As a result, SWAT youth have the confidence to address community decision makers on issues that directly impact them.  Members of Gilchrist County SWAT have addressed the issue of candy flavored tobacco in the community for the past several years by educating community members and decision makers on the issue of the tobacco company marketing technique using candy flavoring in tobacco products to attract kids.  They also conduct a yearly StoreAlert project to observe the amount of tobacco advertising aimed to attract youth at local tobacco retailers.

SWAT youth in Gilchrist County are civically minded and dedicated to their message of keeping other young people tobacco-free.  They continue to work toward their goal by meeting with decision makers to promote school and community policies that give a clear tobacco-free message to youth and parents in order to build new social norms in the county which support living a tobacco-free lifestyle.