News and Events

What is SWAT?
August 30, 2016

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) is Florida’s statewide response to the tobacco industry’s plan to recruit youth and teens as replacements for tobacco users who quit or die.

Because 90% of smokers begin using prior to age 17, the industry’s marketing strategies to lure youth are obviously working. The industry spends billions to market and manipulate teens and youth with flavored tobacco, price discounts, packaging and point of sale advertising.

Think about it... Why is tobacco flavored like candy? Are power walls of tobacco products behind the register placed there by intention? How do we effectively reach teens and youth with the answers? Peer to peer education works best. Youth and teens are the most creative and effective messengers.

SWAT focuses on exposing tobacco industry tactics designed to capture the attention of teens and youth. SWAT members are encouraged by adult advisors to do the research, develop the messages and, using their skills and creativity, deliver messages to peers.

There is no limit to their creativity or their power. SWAT delivers anti-tobacco messages to younger students, peer groups, adults and elected officials.  By speaking to city councils and county commissioners, they have been key players in adoption of tobacco free policies around the state. Last February a Vero Beach High School SWAT member discussed the effects of smokeless tobacco with the City of Vero Beach Council and Indian River County Commission for Through with Chew Week.

SWAT meets at Oslo Middle School the first Thursday of each month after school, and at Storm Grove Middle School second Thursday of each month.

Vero Beach High and Sebastian River High also have SWAT Clubs and they currently are developing their schedules for the 2016-2017 school year.

To get involved with an existing club, or start a new SWAT club, contact Leslie Spurlock at