GET TO KNOW US

We are Big Tobacco’s nightmare. We know their ploys. Their tricks. Their deceit. And we will not tolerate it.

We will not stand by and idly watch tobacco kill our friends and family. We will not be manipulated by a multi-billion dollar industry, nor will we replace the hundreds of addicts that die every day. We will change policy. Reach out to lawmakers. Expose marketing schemes. Influence our peers. And save lives. We are the generation that will stop big tobacco. We are SWAT.

 

SWAT ACHIEVEMENTS THROUGH THE YEARS

AUGUST 1997 - VICTORY!

Florida won a landmark settlement against the tobacco industry; becoming the second state in the nation to settle a lawsuit against the tobacco industry.

MARCH 1998 - THE START OF SOMETHING BIG

SWAT was created at the Teen Tobacco Summit where 600 middle and high school youth met and created SWAT as a way to take a stand against the tobacco industry.

JUNE 1998 - TRUTH® TAKES EFFECT

The truth® train pulled out of the station on its 10 city tour designed to spread the truth about the tobacco industry to Florida teens. At stops around the state, youth boarded the train to learn about how the tobacco industry uses manipulative tricks to addict them.

JANUARY 1999 - TAKING IT TO THE STREETS

Operation SWAT: SWAT youth along with their county tobacco free partnership members conducted random retail checks to survey the placement of tobacco products and point-of-sale ads. From their findings, they were able to gather evidence needed to support the more than 50 city and county ordinances that would be enacted ordering tobacco products be placed behind the sales counter at stores.

NOVEMBER 1999 - RETURN TO SENDER

SWAT youth end their statewide initiative “Big Tobacco On the Run” with a discussion with Corky Newton, Vice President of Corporate and Youth Responsibility Programs at tobacco company Brown & Williamson (currently Reynolds American Inc.). During the meeting, SWAT challenged B&W to adopt their Guidelines to Reduce Exposure to Tobacco Marketing. “Big Tobacco On The Run” concluded with nearly 9,000 tobacco magazine ads being returned to tobacco companies with stickers displaying, “Rejected, Rebuffed, Returned”.

JANUARY 2000 - PUT UP OR SHUT UP

SWAT challenges Phillip Morris to “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is”. Phillip Morris was spending millions on ads to brag about their good deeds. Meanwhile, they were in the same bad business of marketing their deadly products to teens.

SEPTEMBER 2001 - AT A THEATRE NEAR YOU

“SWAT Goes to Hollywood” was a statewide youth initiative designed to raise awareness about the uses of tobacco in movies and about the influence the tobacco industry has on the movie industry.

JUNE 2002 - CHANGING THE LAW

“Out of the Air” was adopted as the SWAT statewide initiative. This campaign raised awareness of the dangers of secondhand smoke exposure. It was also instrumental in educating Floridians of the benefits of smoke-free environments. In November 2002, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment to make workplaces smoke-free.

JUNE 2002 - THE GOLDEN SLEDGE

Escambia County Tobacco Free Partnership wins Partnership of the Year Award. Each year at the annual Teen Tobacco Summit, a county tobacco free partnership was awarded for their tobacco control successes. Congrats to Ron Davis, Ildi Gaspar and SWAT member Thomas Philpot for the leadership and hard work you gave your partnership!

MARCH 2003 - YOUNG DOESN’T MEAN DUMB

SWAT launched their “Underestimated” campaign, which was a grassroots marketing initiative to let the tobacco industry know the youth of Florida won’t just sit back and be manipulated. The industry may be able to spend billions of dollars marketing their product, but they should never underestimate Florida teens.

MARCH 2004 - BIG MONEY, BIGGER LIES

What would you do for $51 billion? That wasn’t the name of a new game show or reality TV. The “51-Billion” campaign was created by SWAT to show their peers around the state the lengths the tobacco industry would go to protect their profits. In just one year, one U.S. tobacco company made $51 billion dollars. What do you think they would do to protect that kind of money?

NOVEMBER 2004 - SPREADING THE MESSAGE

SWAT makes a global impact. SWAT youth and our own Ron Davis, Regional Tobacco Prevention Coordinator covering the Florida Panhandle, were invited to share their expertise on advocacy and tobacco control to a newly formed youth-driven movement in Canada called HCAT.

FEBRUARY 2005 - ROAD TRIP

The Teen Tobacco Summit 8 was unlike any other. Teens jumped on buses for a one-day, nine-city advocacy tour. Between stops, youth learned key tobacco issues and advocacy skills. The tour culminated in the filming of a SWAT recruitment PSA in Orlando.

MAY 2006 - THE POWER OF SWAT

The first Project 1200 was displayed in Miami. Each day, 1,200 Americans die from tobacco. That is why the tobacco industry calls teens “replacement smokers,’ meant to replace the 1,200. Instead, youth from Miami honored the 1,200 by challenging their peers and community members to stand up against the tobacco industry with a moving and educational display.

OCTOBER 2008 - THE POWER OF MANY

With much enthusiasm, SWAT youth held their first organizational meeting in two years. Members from counties all over the state developed their new mission statement, elected a Youth Advocacy Board and re-ignited their desire to create a tobacco-free generation.

FEBRUARY 2009 - SWEET AND DEADLY

Santa Rosa SWAT along with the support of their community encouraged their county commissioners to pass a resolution banning candy-flavored tobacco products. This was the first step toward banning these products and a huge blow to corporate tobacco’s plan to use candy flavors to disguise an addictive and deadly product. Since then, hundreds of similar resolutions have been passed in cities and counties across the state.

JUNE 2012 - SMOKE-FREE DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY

SWAT members from 21 different counties worked together to host an event honoring the Daytona International Speedway for its smoke-free grandstand policy. The event included a guest appearance from Jeffrey Earnhardt, a professional NASCAR race car driver.

JULY 2012 - BREAK THROUGH 2012

More than 130 SWAT members from across the state convened in Orlando to sharpen their advocacy skills and advance their work in tobacco control. Youth learned about tobacco issues and how to apply a variety of advocacy skills to leverage support for community change.

DECEMBER 2013 - WE ARE #NotAReplacement

Using the power of social media, SWAT launched the "#NotAReplacement" campaign, which empowered the youth to take "selfie statements" and tell Big Tobacco to stop viewing teens as Replacement Smokers for their dying customers.

JANUARY 2014 - Florida Goes All In

What happens when all 67 Florida counties vote to create a resolution to restrict the marketing and sale of fruit-and- candy-flavored tobacco products? IT PASSES! Way to go, Florida!

MARCH 2014 - Standing Strong with Selfies

SWAT wanted to make sure that tobacco companies knew just how serious teens were about refusing to replace their dying smokers, so they sent 5,106 “selfie statements” directly to the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company as the #NotAReplacement campaign’s final hurrah to get their point across. The campaign was such a success that it was taken nationwide by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids® and was featured as the worldwide signature activity for the 20th annual Kick Butt’s Day.

JUNE 2017 - Tobacco Free State of Mind

Tobacco Free Florida held a statewide SWAT meeting with more than 120 youth and 70 adults representing each county in Florida. The meeting opened with a powerful message from DOH Deputy Secretary, Dr. Kelli Wells, and Tobacco Free Florida Bureau Chief, Dr. Kellie O’ Dare. The teens discovered the rich history Florida has in tobacco control, and developed the skills needed to make their communities tobacco free.

NOVEMBER 2017 - Moment of truth

In November of 2017, SWAT celebrated the release of “corrective statements” from U.S. tobacco corporations. These court-ordered commercials and newspaper articles reveal the real dangers and health risks associated with tobacco products that Big Tobacco previously denied and lied about. SWAT members can now use this victory to empower the youth and continue the fight to make a difference – with the truth on our side!

JUNE 2018 - We are #NotALabRat

Big Tobacco is still up to no good and once again SWAT has been called upon to save the day. The message we are using behind our new campaign is “myth vs. facts” and empowering the youth to tell e-cigarette makers that they are “Not Lab Rats!” Big Tobacco is promoting and selling products with many “unknowns”, but we see through their clouds of mist and lies.

MAY 2019 - World No Tobacco Day (WHO Award)

Every year, on May 31st, the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners celebrate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD). WHO also recognizes individuals or organizations in each of the six WHO regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control. That said, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) was nominated and won the Region of the Americas award for the Not A Lab Rat campaign.

JUNE 2019 - SWAT Statewide Meeting 2019

SWAT held a statewide meeting with more than 130 youth and 70 adults in attendance, representing each county in the state of Florida. The meeting was all about youth becoming the NEXXT SWAT generation to continue fighting against and XXing out Big Tobacco and the new industry that’s emerging: E-Cigarettes

 

MEET OUR YOUTH ADVISORY BOARD LEADERS

YAB members are elected by their peers to keep SWAT moving in the right direction. Meet the leaders of tomorrow and get to know a little more about them.

Alyssa Wheeler
"When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful." – Malala Yousafzai
Currently, I am a junior at James Madison Preparatory High School in Madison County. The reason I joined was that I wanted to get involved in extracurriculars and also because I support SWAT’s message and ultimate goal. To me, SWAT is a program that grants the ability to not only get involved in your community but to change it. In my time away from SWAT, I enjoy reading classics, studying languages, and identifying local plants. As of recently, I have taken an interest in physics and environmentalism

Region: 1
Contact Me: Mykenzier@swatflorida.com

Devyn Langley
"The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." – Steve Jobs.
My journey in SWAT began my freshman year when a teacher of mine told me and some friends what SWAT was, and that was just the beginning. From there, I attended every meeting and every event we have hosted or assisted with. SWAT became my second family, so I decided to take it another step up and join the leadership committee. Not too long after that, I decided that I wanted to run for the YAB. Joining SWAT was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Region: 1
Contact Me: paiges@swatflorida.com

Shanae Kisi
"If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new." – Albert Einstein
I joined SWAT for the sole reason of wanting to help my schoolmates. That goal soon sprouted into me wanting to stop Big Tobacco from using our generation for money. Through SWAT, I soon realized that tobacco was becoming a major problem in this generation and that I needed to help the cause. I became the Vice President, and Treasurer, of my school’s SWAT club and an active member of the Bay County Leadership Team in order to help this cause. I was honored when I was elected into YAB and I am ecstatic to be able to continue my efforts.

Region: 1
Contact Me: amaral@swatflorida.com

Atra Bishehban
"You were born with the ability to change someone’s life—don’t ever waste it." —Dale Partridge
Since I was in elementary school I have always wanted to make a difference in the world. Since the age of 10 I’ve always been doing leadership activities. This includes being the president of the Kiwanis in sixth grade, being in citizenship in seventh grade, and being in SWAT in eighth grade. Since I started SWAT I have had many opportunities such as being on the news, making a difference in my school, and becoming a YAB member. I am so excited to be a YAB member and learn new things and new ways to be a leader.

Region: 1
Contact Me: abbyb@swatflorida.com

Jasmin Guerrero
"You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes." - Winnie the Pooh
Growing up, tobacco was a normal thing used by my family members every day. I have seen how addicting it can be. I have lost family members to the use of tobacco. I saw that SWAT was a club at my school wanting to spread awareness, help prevent tobacco use and stop big tobacco from targeting youth so I joined and have been in SWAT for four years now. Outside of SWAT, I am a member of BETA, HOSA, and SGA. I am also on the girls weightlifting team.

Region: 2
Contact Me: jordanm@swatflorida.com

Natasha Counts
"Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out." –James Bryant Conant
This is my fourth year in SWAT. I joined SWAT after losing my grandma to cancer. I’ve always wanted to change the world for the better, but I just never knew how. Being in SWAT helped me realize I want to create a tobacco-free future. Thanks to my amazing first advisor (Hi Mrs. McCalligan!), my awesome first coordinator (Hey Kayla!), all the other dedicated adults who have helped me along the way, and my passion for the cause, I fell in love with SWAT. I can’t wait to give as much to SWAT as it’s given to me.

Region: 2
Contact Me: nicolass@swatflorida.com

Amaris Mack
"The enthusiastic person will find ways around any setbacks and while they may fall down they are quick to stand up again."- Catherine Pulsifer.
My name is Amaris Mack. I am 13 years old! I participate in competitive cheer, gymnastics and soccer. I want to attend Howard University! (Go Bisons !) I want to become a dental hygienist, and potentially own my own business on the side. I love cooking and playing with my dogs when I have spare time.

Region: 2
Contact Me: christopherb@swatflorida.com

Shari Troy
"Life happens wherever you are, whether you make it or not." Uncle Iroh
My name is Shari Troy and I have been in SWAT for five years, and president of my chapter for four. This will be my second year in YAB. I am a senior at Hamilton County High School. The entire time that I've been in SWAT, there's never been a moment where I wasn't having fun. I love being able to advocate on behalf of my SWAT club while serving on the YAB. Outside of SWAT, I spend my time working, practicing piano and performing in color guard. Once I graduate, I plan to go to culinary school.

Region: 2
Contact Me: paiges@swatflorida.com

Karielyz Diaz Morales
"The woman who walks alone is likely to find herself in places no one has been before." - Albert Einstein.
I have been part of SWAT for a year now and this is my first year on YAB. Besides SWAT I also partake in many clubs at school such as NHS, Beta, MAT, Key Club, and Class of 2021 Steering. The majority of my time is spent working or gathering community hours because I find it is the most useful way to use up my time.

Region: 3
Contact Me: ashleyp@swatflorida.com

Rachel Prempeh
"You must do the thing which you think you cannot." -Eleanor Roosevelt
My name is Rachel Prempeh and I’ve been in SWAT for 1 year. I joined SWAT because I saw it as a great organization that would allow me to be around others who shared the same mindset when standing against Big Tobacco. So far, I’ve really enjoyed being a part of it and being surrounded by new and old friends where we’re able to work together and spread the word in hopes of making a difference. Aside from being involved in SWAT, I’m also the Junior Vice President of the National Honor Society, a new Ambassador for the campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, an active member in many academic clubs, and an avid reader. There’s no such thing as reading too many books so get to it!

Region: 3
Contact Me: danielt@swatflorida.com

Henry Bae
"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay
Starting SWAT only a year and a half ago, my experience with the organization has been relatively new. However, the objectives and values of SWAT closely match the journey of my life. As an explorer in science and believer in God, I continuously spend time expanding my knowledge of the world and serving the community, specifically by influencing people to make logical and informed decisions about themselves and the world. The recent vaping epidemic in schools across the United States with severe health consequences in my community, along with the realization of the deep-rooted systematic problem of tobacco products initiated my effort to spread awareness and educate my peers about the dangers of tobacco products and industries. SWAT stood as an amazing platform for my friends and I to speak to community leaders and legislators, and as a member of the YAB, I can reach out to more people than I have ever imagined before. Outside of SWAT, I enjoy coding in R and playing hours upon hours of tennis with my friends.

Region: 3
Contact Me: Mykenzier@swatflorida.com

Kamya Williams
"A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others." - Douglas MacArthur
When I was growing up, I didn’t really know what tobacco was. All I knew was that it was commonly used in my family and that my family told me not to smoke all the time. When I got older, I finally understood what tobacco was and how it was affecting my family and I was not going to let Big Tobacco win and my family suffer because of it. So, I started my fight against Big Tobacco and vape industries as a freshman in high school where I was introduced to SWAT, I am now a junior. I have been an active member of SWAT for 2 years now going on 3 and a YAB member for 1. I have also recently become a National Youth Ambassador for the Campaign for Tobacco- Free Kids.

Region: 3
Contact Me: amaral@swatflorida.com

Toni Maxwell
"Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough." -Oprah Winfrey
As a child I was unaware of the effects tobacco had on my environment, and the people around me. My family consisted of very few smokers, but there was one I was around constantly, my grandfather. One day he decided it was time to quit, and I began to do some research. I found out about the Big Tobacco companies and their harmful marketing tactics. This led me to join SWAT and his courage caused me to join several other clubs, including student government, student council, etc. I’ve been a part of SWAT for a year now, and I’m excited to continue to grow and advocate with the Youth Advocacy Board.

Region: 4
Contact Me: britaniac@swatflorida.com

Nicholas Martinez
"Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country." – John F. Kennedy
My Name is Nicholas Martinez. The reason I joined the YAB is because I know the truth about Big Tobacco and a lot of Florida’s youth does not, and I want them to know the truth as well. By becoming a National Youth Ambassador for the CTFK and working on the local Miami-Dade E-cig campaign E-(liminate)Cigs, SWAT has helped me learn the facts about Big Tobacco and has prepared me enough to spread these facts like wildfire in my school, community, and nationwide. It is a pleasure and honor to serve you in the YAB. I represent Florida’s youth, I am here to work for you, and to make real change happen for you! We will make history while making Big Tobacco a thing of the past!

Region: 4
Contact Me:

Lisbet Figueroa
"Act as if what you do makes a difference. IT DOES." – William James
Being a SWAT member for two years has not only encouraged me but also boosted my confidence as a person, knowing that I am using my skills and voice for the right reasons. Seeing friends of mine let tobacco take over their life is a big reason why I am no longer sitting around, because change won’t happen unless you let it. I am 17 years old and moving on to my senior year in high school. This is my first year as a YAB member and I also recently became a youth ambassador for Tobacco-Free Kids. What I do outside of SWAT, I am a competitive dancer and have been for 10 years

Region: 4
Contact Me: abbyb@swatflorida.com

Saesha Wani
"Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone." – Billy Cox
Hey, I’m Saesha Wani! I am currently a sophomore in the SWAT chapter at José Martí MAST Academy in Miami-Dade County! I got involved in SWAT about a year ago, when it was first introduced at my school. I joined because I wanted to take action and work towards the ultimate goal of creating a tobacco-free future. Tobacco has affected my life as big tobacco continues to target many of my family members and friends. Therefore, I was so excited to join a group of students with similar interests and together advocate for tobacco control. Since then, Students Working Against Tobacco has been a big part of my life. SWAT has given me the opportunity to not only get involved in my school, but also make a difference in my community! After being involved in my school’s SWAT chapter for a year, I decided I wanted to take my journey with SWAT a step further and run for the YAB. This is my first year on the YAB and I am ready to make our goals of a tobacco free future a reality and truly be Big Tobacco’s biggest nightmare. Outside of SWAT, I am part of Student Council and Key Club. I enjoy Figure Skating, and I am always trying to push myself to overcome obstacles and try new things!

Region: 4
Contact Me: ashleyp@swatflorida.com

 

SWAT is made possible with the support of Tobacco Free Florida and the Florida Department of Health.