News and Events

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) in Gilchrist County are Planning for Another Big Year!
September 1, 2019

Gilchrist Students Working Against Tobacco 4-H clubs are established to give young people in Gilchrist County the opportunity to speak out in the community to let people know the ways that 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 young people are dedicated to educating and advocating for policies that will help other youth stay tobacco-free for life.

Gilchrist County SWAT 4-H members plan to be active this year to raise awareness about e-cigarette use among youth. Lately, the news has been filled with articles about young people who have lung damage which doctors have reported to the CDC. The CDC and the FDA are both currently investigating this problem. In an information brief posted on August 30, 2019, the CDC states:

CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), state and local health departments, and other clinical and public health partners are investigating a multistate outbreak of severe pulmonary disease associated with e-cigarette product (devices, liquids, refill pods, and/or cartridges) use. This investigation is ongoing and has not identified a cause, but all reported cases have a history of using e-cigarette products (1).

In Gilchrist County, 19.3% of all young people (11-17 yrs.) are regular users of e-cigarettes. Even more shocking is that 30.5% of all students ages 11-17 have ever tried an e-cigarette according to the latest Florida Youth Tobacco Survey.

Members of Gilchrist County SWAT are addressing this issue by joining the statewide SWAT effort to let people know that Big Tobacco is up to its old tricks again with e-cigarette products. Their message this school year is: “Not a Lab Rat”, which means that they don’t want their generation to be the ones who find out what kinds of harms might come to them from using e-cigarettes the way past generations have with traditional cigarettes.

Our SWAT clubs in Bell and Trenton are working toward recruiting new members, and promoting their goal to create a generation of youth who are tobacco and nicotine free. They will be educating the community on the issue of the tobacco company marketing techniques that attract young people.  They will continue to work toward their goals by promoting 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 and nicotine free lifestyle.