News and Events

SWAT Students Take the Lead on Tobacco Free Environments!
September 12, 2018

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) held its first 2018-19 Chapter leadership meeting this summer on July 30th.  Kayla Hershberger, Anna Woods and Genevieve Presti will continue to be leaders in their respective SWAT clubs this year. Kayla is President at Sebastian River High School and Genevieve is President at Sebastian River Middle School where Anna is Vice President. They learned about tobacco free environments and the negative effects of secondhand and thirdhand smoke and aerosol. They also discussed the “Not A Lab Rat” campaign, a new statewide SWAT focus on dispelling lies about electronic cigarettes (or vaping). Plans were made for a Butts Off the Beach Clean-up and to meet with County Commissioners about tobacco free parks and recreation facilities.

In September, Kayla and Anna, along with members of the Tobacco Free Partnership, met with County Commissioners to talk about parks and recreation areas becoming Tobacco Free Environments. These two young ladies rocked it with factual, researched information and personal stories about the bad effects secondhand smoke and vape aerosol have on people, animals, and the environment. Not only is aerosol and smoke a breathing hazard, it also lands on plants, people and animals and has negative health consequences as thirdhand residue. Commissioners were duly impressed and invited the students to return for a Commission meeting with a presentation for them and the community. Most Commissioners expressed interest in tackling this issue. Stay tuned!

SWAT’s mission is to mobilize, educate and equip Florida’s youth to revolt against and de-glamorize Big Tobacco.  It is a united movement of empowered youth working towards a tobacco free future. SWAT does this by challenging tobacco industry marketing (which targets youth), cultivating mistrust of tobacco companies, advocating for change that makes tobacco less acceptable and accessible, and sharing decision-making with adults.

To learn more about the SWAT Program in Indian River County, contact Leslie Spurlock at