News and Events

SWAT Marches On
December 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for many organizations, and the Students Working Against Tobacco Chapter in Indian River County is no exception. With virtual schooling and event restrictions, SWAT has faced new barriers this school year in getting their clubs running; however, these barriers have not stopped SWAT one bit.

The Students Working Against Tobacco Chapter in Indian River continues to meet bi-weekly on Tuesday via Google Meet, collaborating on new activities and projects to remain engaged in tobacco prevention work during these challenging times. SWAT youth know that it is more important than ever to promote tobacco-free social norms and encourage cessation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Chapter has been engaged in several projects throughout the quarter and hopes to continue efforts in the upcoming quarter.

One of the more notable efforts this quarter was establishing October as 'Vaping Awareness Month.' The SWAT youth assisted the Tobacco Free Partnership in coordinating events throughout the month of October to educate peers, parents, and community members on vaping dangers. The Board of County Commissioners and the School District were highlighted as supportive partners, and both boards passed proclamations supporting Vaping Awareness Month. Senior SWAT Member, Michael had a chance to speak at the School Board Meeting on October 27, 2020. Michael was proud to be involved in such an important topic and "is glad to see the overwhelming support of the community to learn more about the dangers of vaping and be involved in SWAT's mission." In October, other events included a Vaping Town Hall with QuitDoc CEO Barry Hummel and Coffee and Conversation Events with local schools' parents.

SWAT youth also participated in their annual 'Not a Lab Rat Campaign' in October, with this year's campaign focusing on the dangers of disposable e-cigarettes. Disposable electronic cigarettes represent the industry's ability to circumvent regulation and entice youth to their addicting products. SWAT youth took the time to educate peers on campus and through a Public Service Announcement. The Public Service Announcement was played throughout Indian River County and featured county youth providing facts on the dangers of vaping and nicotine's effect on the developing brain.

While we are continuing to adjust to our new reality, SWAT found time to connect safely in-person with a park clean-up. SWAT youth took the time to clean a local park to educate decision-makers on tobacco use's harmful effects in parks. The park clean-up resulted in hundreds of cigarette butts being collected, along with 15 bags of trash! Youth are continuing to use the clean-ups, not only as a way to engage with each other but to progress their efforts towards having tobacco-free parks in all of Indian River County. There is no safe level of secondhand smoke, and SWAT wants to ensure that every child and resident is safe from exposure while playing in the park.

This quarter wasn't just all work for SWAT either. SWAT youth hosted two 'Friday Night Done Right' events in partnership with Substance Abuse Free Indian River. In October, the youth celebrated their month of successes with a pumpkin painting party. Youth met to decorate pumpkins and enjoy Halloween treats. In December, the youth closed the quarter with a virtual cooking class hosted by local coalition member Deanna. The youth had the opportunity to cook Stone Soup and Holiday Cookies for their family and close out a great quarter of work.

If you are interested in learning more about the SWAT program or getting involved, please contact Kyleigh Savoie at (772)-577-3701 or