News and Events

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Celebrate Not a Lab Rat Day!
October 21, 2020

This October in Gilchrist County, Students Working Against Tobacco (or SWAT) partook in Not A Lab Rat Day. This day is observed annually in hopes of bringing awareness of e-cigarette use among youth, encouraging youth to stand up against Big Tobacco and the e-cigarette industry, and pushing for change within our communities.

Electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices have not been properly studied long-term. The lack of long-term health studies for electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes, puff sticks, etc.) are due to the products new presence within the marketplace. As a result, we are uncertain just how much of a threat these products can truly hold. Thus, the Florida SWAT youth have giving the name Not A Lab Rat to their awareness campaign. Essentially the products current users will give us the first real understanding of just what the effects are from these electronic devices, and how it will alter long-term health down the road.

The use of these products by the youth within Gilchrist County has jumped nearly 20% in the past 4 years according to the 2020 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS). With this jump rates of use among Gilchrist County youth are now 10% higher than the state average among youth that are currently using electronic devices regularly.

Our local SWAT clubs recognized these numbers as not only surprising but also very alarming. How the clubs decided to combat this within the schools for the holiday was to post posters throughout the school promoting a tobacco-free campus, as well as the benefits of a tobacco free lifestyle to their fellow peers. This poster campaign was focused on high traveled areas within the school such as entrances to buildings, cafeterias, and even restrooms. The Gilchrist County SWAT clubs have faith these posters will serve as an extra reminder to students about the dangers of tobacco use for themselves, but also their peers who are attending classes.

For more information on the SWAT Chapter in Gilchrist County, contact Dan Murray at