News and Events

Indian River County S.W.A.T. Members and National Guard Team Up To Show Tobacco’s Real Effects
By Laura Barnes
March 8, 2024

It wasn’t your average lunch break at Gifford Middle School on Tuesday, February 27th. The National Guard Counterdrug Task Force joined 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the cafeteria with a pretty “lung-tastic” display. Invited by the Gifford S.W.A.T. (Students Working Against Tobacco) Club, Staff Sargent Victor Reyes led students on the harmful effects of tobacco.

The most eye catching of them all? A set of preserved swine lungs that showed what healthy lungs and tobacco laden lungs looked like. The most impressive part was when he would pump air into both sets of lungs and allow the students to see how easily the healthy lungs would fill with air, while the “smokers” lungs would barely inflate. The screeches of unbelief, and verbal disgust, were enough to spill out of the cafeteria.

And while the lungs were the star of the show, students were equally impressed, or grossed out, by how much tar can fill the lungs in one year through vaping and smoking cigarettes. The life size rotting mouth from chewing tobacco was also a talking point. Especially, after celebrating Through With Chew a week earlier in the month.

While Gifford Middle School S.W.A.T. was busy sharing the harmful effects of tobacco on their campus, Indian River Charter High School had a successful week on their campus during Through With Chew week. Students celebrated Kindness Week February 12th-16th by passing out candy covered in phrases and hashtags deglamorizing tobacco and promoting healthy lifestyle choice.

Last, but certainly not least, our new Indian River County S.W.A.T Community Club met for the first time in person on January 26th. They formed their social media account and planned to start promoting their anti-tobacco campaign from there. They will meet again this quarter with 9 new members joining their ranks. They have big plans in the coming year to tackle a beach clean-up, meet with local and state lawmakers to advocate against vaping on campuses and dive deeper on their social media platform. Look out for their anti-tobacco rap video with one of their principals supporting S.W.A.T. coming soon!