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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    “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


    “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


    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


    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


    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


    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


    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 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


    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


    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


    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


    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 Advocacy 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.

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