News and Events

The Gilchrist County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Chapter Wraps Up a Busy Fall!
December 21, 2022

Gilchrist County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) have grown and taken to the public in the starting semester of the 2022-23 school year. With more than 50 new county wide members from previous years we have seen great support from the schools as well as the students with the current vaping epidemic sweeping across the nation.

In the last quarter our local SWAT participated in many public events to help push the tobacco-free agenda. First, they showed their support against the vaping epidemic by throwing poster campaigns throughout the schools to educate fellow students on the dangers of vaping. With vapes only being on the market for a few years there are no long-term studies showing the effects on the body. Not being a lab rat is exactly that, don’t be a lab rat. With these products out and no studies being done the first users will be the subjects of future long-term effects. Our local students spoke with their peers, teachers, and school staff to educate them on the possible dangers and the unknown of using these products.

We also had a few local members represent Gilchrist County at Tobacco Free Florida’s regional SWAT summit in Jacksonville. Our local SWAT leaders were able to learn more on the importance of having the kids’ voices heard and learned plenty of skills with public speaking and getting the message across. Here our young leaders learned how to effectively run a booth for future local health fairs and acquired skills to discuss these issues with local decision makers to ensure the youth are heard.

SWAT’s big local showing had to be during the Bell Homecoming Parade with both Middle and High School clubs showing support and walking the event to show the community just how many of these students are concerned about the current issues. It was a great event and I hope everyone saw our proud SWAT students wearing their bright green supporting the club.


With our students showing more and more support and concern for their futures I would like to think this county is moving towards a positive future. If we allow them and continue showing our support; these young advocates will be ready to have their voices heard in their continual push back against big tobacco and their tactics to target young new smokers.