News and Events

Gilchrist County SWAT 4-H Clubs Say “Don’t Be a Lab Rat!"
October 16, 2019

The second annual Not a Lab Rat Day was held on October 16, 2019. Not A Lab Rat Day will be observed annually on the third Wednesday of October to bring awareness to e-cigarette use among youth, encourage youth to stand up against Big Tobacco and the e-cigarette industry, and to push for change within their communities.

Gilchrist County SWAT 4-H clubs participated in this observance, which is a statewide initiative that empowers youth to stand up and declare that they refuse to be the tobacco and e-cigarette industry’s “lab rats” as we wait and see the long-term health effects of vaping.

SWAT chapters across the state held events at their schools and in their communities to dispel myths and educate their peers about the e-cigarette industry’s connection to Big Tobacco. In Gilchrist County, the SWAT clubs did a poster campaign at Trenton and Bell High Schools, as well as hung up banners encouraging students not be “lab rats” by using e-cigarettes.

The SWAT clubs also got together and participated in the 4-H scarecrow contest, by creating a mad scientist scarecrow display. The mad scientist scarecrow not only was scary for Halloween, but he educated community members on the issues of flavored nicotine products that attract youth to try e-cigarettes or “vapes” as youth call them. The mad scientist display showed how e-cigarettes attract youth through bright colors and candy flavorings.

E-cigarette use among children aged 11-17 is a growing problem in Gilchrist County as 31.5% of youth said they have tried e-cigarettes on the 2018 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. In addition, 19.8% of Gilchrist children aged 11-17 say they are current e-cigarette users according to the 2018 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey. Young people across the state have been attracted to e-cigarettes just as the youth smoking rate had fallen to historically low levels. That is why the statewide Students Working Against Tobacco leadership decided to take a stand and encourage young people not to be lab rats of the tobacco companies that own e-cigarette brands.

If you would like to learn more about Gilchrist County SWAT clubs, or the issue of e-cigarettes and youth, please contact us at