News and Events

SWAT Students from Gilchrist County Contribute to "Who is the Target", a Short Film on Youth Tobacco Marketing
April 24, 2013

Students from six counties in North Central Florida joined forces to write and produce "Who is the Target", a short film that focuses on the use of flavored products as a youth marketing strategy by tobacco companies.

Fourteen Students from Alachua, Clay, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, and Marion Counties were asked to contribute facts and information on the issue of flavored tobacco products that are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The students then recorded the information at a make-shift studio.

"It's good to hear this message coming from kids because we know what's going on with the tobacco companies advertising to us, and we can inform decision makers," said Gilchrist County SWAT student Chandler Ash, who participated in the project.  "This project was also valuable because we were able to let other kids know what tobacco companies are doing, and hopefully they won't make the mistake of using tobacco."

Chandler Ash on set

The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation helped produce the film, setting up a temporary studio at their office in Ocala, Florida. The staff converted a spare office by suspending a simple blue screen from the ceiling. "It is the same technique used by your local weatherman," said Dr. Barry Hummel, who directed the film. "It allows us to put graphic information behind the students during the editing process to reinforce each point they are trying to make."

"The students were real pros," added Dr. Hummel. "Picture yourself standing on a blank stage and sharing information while imagining what images might be swirling behind you. This is exactly what these students did, which is all the more impressive when you consider that they ranged in age from 12 to 18."

Once the footage was shot, it was catalogued by Dr. Hummel, who then was tasked with cutting the film together.

"Using the material provided by the students, I had to string together the information to try and tell a linear story," said Dr. Hummel. "Once that was established, the film was populated with numerous pictures of the tobacco products that are being used to aggressively target teenagers."

"Although most people agree that using tobacco is a harmful, addictive habit, most adults are unaware of the products on the market designed to interest young people in trying tobacco for the first time," added Tracy DeCubellis, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist in Gilchrist County. "These young people explain, in their own words, the issue of deceptive tobacco marketing aimed straight at them.  This is a powerful statement to adults in our North Florida communities that our young people are sending us - tobacco companies are creating products specifically to attract them."

Dr. Hummel also hopes to use the material to create a number of shorter 30-second and 60-second public service announcements. "With a little luck," he added, "we can get some local media outlets to runs a few of these to get the word out on this important problem."

The finished project, "Who is the Target", was made available to the public on April 24, 2013. You can view the film in its entirety here: