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.

 

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.

Allysa Williams
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." – Barack Obama
Growing up, tobacco was a normal product used in my family. But as I got older, the effects of tobacco were starting to take effect, and I didn't want to let Big Tobacco win a war I didn't know had started. SWAT was there for me and gave me lots of opportunities and encouraged me to take action. I have been an active member of SWAT for the past three years. Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak to legislators at an open legislation meeting in Tallahassee. The trip was a great opportunity for me to build my character and confidence, and to learn new ways to effectively communicate with my peers and legislators. As my idol Barack Obama once said, "Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek."  Outside of SWAT, I am the class president for my junior class at Osceola High School, National Honor Society member, and an All-American Cheerleader! When I’m not participating in these activities, I am spending my time with my family and dogs.

Region: 3
Contact Me: Mykenzier@swatflorida.com

Ja’toria Stephens
"When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming." – from the movie Finding Nemo
The reason I am in SWAT is because I love to deglamorize Big Tobacco. Big Tobacco is a deceptive market that targets my peers and the ones I love. As a result of the deceptive market, I never had the opportunity to meet my grandmother who passed away from lung cancer. I support the military in many ways; therefore, I will fight against Big Tobacco’s market strategy toward our soldiers. My grandfather, another loved one lost to Big Tobacco, was a Green Beret in the Army. Having fought in the Vietnam and Korean wars, Big Tobacco targeted him and his peers for their masculinity. As a result, the mixture of tobacco chemicals and Agent Orange (a chemical spray) caused cancer in numerous places, leading to his death. The thing I admire most about SWAT is the counteraction of Big Tobacco’s deceptive market. These are the reasons I am fighting against Big Tobacco.

Region: 1
Contact Me: paiges@swatflorida.com

Hännah Ford
"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." – John Lennon
My name is Hännah Ford and I am a junior at Sarasota Military Academy in Sarasota, FL. I have been a member of SWAT for 6 years now, starting my experience during the summer before entering 6th grade. Throughout my time in the Sarasota SWAT chapter, I have been able to participate in dozens of beach and park cleanups, talk with local and state politicians, and join forces with other clubs on Kick Butts Day. In addition, I was part of the chapter leadership program for three years as vice president at the Lee Wetherington Boys and Girls Club SWAT, and as social media coordinator for two years in the county-wide group. Students Working Against Tobacco has given me a chance to voice my opinion on tobacco-related issues (such as tobacco free campuses) and has also given me a platform to share the Tobacco Industry's point of sale tactics with other concerned citizens. Tobacco use has diminished relationships between many of my family members, including the relationship between my biological father and me. My SWAT purpose is to assist youth in strengthening their knowledge on the issue at hand and save the connections of those impacted by the use of tobacco. Outside of this organization, I share a passion for business and marketing strategies and consider myself a young entrepreneur. Being a part of the YAB allows me to use my strong suits and creativity to tackle problems, preventing others from becoming one.

Region: 3
Contact Me: jordanm@swatflorida.com

Taylor Roberts
"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud." – Coco Chanel
Hey everyone, my name is Taylor Roberts! I live in Wewahitchka, Florida with my adoptive mother, older brother, and stepdad. I’m going into my senior year at Wewahitchka High School, and I’m a drum major of the Gator Sound Marching Band. My favorite subject in school is English. My passions include reading, drumming, and educating people alongside my fellow SWAT members!

Region: 1
Contact Me: amaral@swatflorida.com

Robert Kordon
"Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others." – Rosa Parks
My name is Robert Kordon. I am a 7th grader at Challenger K-8 from Hernando County. SWAT is probably the best decision I have ever made in my school life. SWAT is like my second family—every person in SWAT is an empowered anti-tobacco activist who knows what they are doing and what they want, and what we all want is a Tobacco Free Future. Being voted onto the YAB is such a great opportunity to spread the voices of the people in my region and make them be heard.

Region: 3
Contact Me: nicolass@swatflorida.com

Sachit Gali
"If I have seen further, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." – Sir Isaac Newton.
I am involved in SWAT because I see it as a way to help future generations. I have seen and learned about how tobacco can negatively affect our health, economy, environment, and more. I am passionate about making sure that our generation is the one that ends smoking, and that future generations won’t have to go through the damage that past generations had to go through. I have been a member of SWAT for 5 years, from 7th grade to now. My favorite SWAT memory is when I had the chance to speak with state lawmakers about tobacco prevention. Not only was it very exciting for me, but it showed me how far SWAT can take me. It was also a great bonding experience for me and all the other SWAT members who spoke with me. Outside of school and SWAT, I love to code and practice martial arts. I am also involved in my school as a class officer and belong to the Model United Nations team.

Region: 3
Contact Me: christopherb@swatflorida.com

Emma Ronchetti
"Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience." – Paulo Coelho
Hi, I'm Emma. My journey with SWAT began in 6th grade when my math teacher insisted I join. I ended up enjoying the message that SWAT conveys. I love how in SWAT we don't bash smokers but, instead, we educate them on how the tobacco industry targets them. Other than SWAT, I enjoy things such as playing video games, swimming, skating, watching Netflix, and listening to music.

Region: 2
Contact Me: abbyb@swatflorida.com

Amanda Bouquet
"Never say goodbye because goodbye means going away and going away means forgetting." – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan
Hi! My name is Amanda Bouquet. I am currently in my senior year of high school and a part of Region 4. I have been in SWAT for a year now and this is my first time on the YAB. I was born in Brazil and can speak three languages. I love to watch movies and go to sporting events. I spend a lot of my time volunteering and giving back to my community. I am extremely excited to be a part of the YAB this term!

Region: 4
Contact Me: paiges@swatflorida.com

Jamir Brown
"With humbleness, diligence, persistence, dedication and hard work, I will persevere."
I've been involved in SWAT for about 2 years because I want to make a difference. I want to save lives by promoting tobacco education and how it's not good for you and takes hundreds of thousands of lives each year. One of my favorite SWAT moments was when my SWAT chapter performed at the downtown Jacksonville Martin Luther King Jr. parade. We passed out information on tobacco and encouraged people to quit.

Region: 2
Contact Me: ashleyp@swatflorida.com

Ashley Thompson
"Follow your arrow" – Kacey Musgraves
Hey! My name is Ashley Thompson and I am a sophomore at Miami Palmetto Senior High School in Miami-Dade County. I love my cat and dog, and, other than SWAT, some of my hobbies include working to reduce pollution in the environment. In addition, I enjoy healthy eating and strive to live a fit lifestyle. I am beyond excited to be a part of the YAB and cannot wait to see what we achieve!

Region: 4
Contact Me: amaral@swatflorida.com

Lily Anderson
"If you remain neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." – Desmond Tutu
For me, SWAT is more than an advocacy program. It is a lifesaving program that teaches young people how powerful their voices truly are. I am a senior at Chipley High School in Washington County. I have been in SWAT going on 8 years, and I still get excited every time we take a positive step toward the first tobacco-free generation!

Region: 1
Contact Me: danielt@swatflorida.com

Elizabeth Sterling
"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present" – Bill Keane
Hello, I'm Elizabeth Sterling! I would describe myself as a passionate, caring and adventurous person. With that said, my journey with SWAT began at the age of 14, and it has opened my eyes to see the great impact youth has on our society. I took that motivation to begin a campaign in my county chapter that challenges Walgreens’ power wall. The remarkable accomplishments of my county chapter have driven me to be invested in the matters that are important to me. Currently, I am president of the St. Lucie County chapter and find joy in watching our chapter grow. In my personal time, I enjoy watching my favorite shows alongside my pet, Charlie. In addition to that, accessibility to the beach offers me many fun times with family and friends. 

Region: 4
Contact Me: abbyb@swatflorida.com

Mariah Spelts
"With great power comes great responsibility" – from the movie Spider-Man
I am in my senior year at Okeechobee High School. I have been a part of my high school's SWAT chapter since my freshman year and am currently the president. I have been involved in several major tobacco use prevention activities over the past 3 years. This includes receiving a proclamation from the Mayor of Okeechobee for Tobacco Free Florida week and a proclamation from the Board of County Commissioners for Okeechobee County for Through with Chew week. My SWAT involvement is also comprised of several events including my school’s Club Rush, the city’s Health and Safety Expo, and the Back to School Expo. I also attended the SWAT retreat at Lake Yale last summer. I am determined to take what I have learned over the last few years to help end the use of tobacco products and redefine what it means to be cool.

Region: 4
Contact Me: ashleyp@swatflorida.com

Jaeden Boatner
"Great achievements are the results of great expectations. You will see it happen only when you believe it will happen." – Charles Dickens
I'm 14 years old and I have been a member of SWAT for 4 years. I served 2 years on the leadership committee and have been a member of YAB for half a year. I'm from Holmes County, and I'm in the 9th Grade.

Region: 1
Contact Me: Mykenzier@swatflorida.com

Neyah Carter
"The truth is rarely pure and never simple." – Oscar Wilde
I have been in SWAT for 2 ½ years. I joined SWAT because I believe that educating and bringing forth awareness can change a person's life. Being a part of SWAT has allowed me to really help others and exceed personal growth. Outside of school and SWAT, I enjoy reading, traveling, writing, exercising, playing competitive sports, gardening, and playing with my pup, Jack. I am very interested in global development, agronomy, biotechnology, oceanography, as well as hydrology. I simply enjoy learning new things.

Region: 2
Contact Me: britaniac@swatflorida.com

Ryan Helmes
"I think there will be more smiles when the smoke clears." – Shaun Alexander
Hi, my name is Ryan. From a young age, I have been exposed to smoking from my father and grandparents. I have witnessed what the effects can do since my grandfather can barely breathe anymore. That's why I want to use all the power I have in my hands to get rid of smoking and put the Big Tobacco company out of business!

Region: 2
Contact Me:

 

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