News and Events

SWAT Students from Dixie County Contribute to "Who is the Target", a Short Film on Youth Tobacco Marketing
April 24, 2013

Students from six counties in North Central Florida joined forces to write and produce "Who is the Target", a short film that focuses on the use of flavored products as a youth marketing strategy by tobacco companies.

Fourteen Students from Alachua, Clay, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy, and Marion Counties were asked to contribute facts and information on the issue of flavored tobacco products that are not currently regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. The students then recorded the information at a make-shift studio. Dixie County SWAT students Steven Quaka and David Gumbs participated in the project.

Steven Quaka
Steven Quaka explains just who is the target!

"This was a great opportunity to have my voice heard and to make a difference before my little brother becomes a target of Big Tobacco," said Steve Quaka, as student at Dixie County High School.

"The Dixie County SWAT Students are always looking for ways to share what they see in their community," said Melanie Anderson, the Tobacco Prevention Specialist in Dixie County.  "They are very concerned that elected officials do not see candy flavored tobacco the way it is displayed and advertised in the stores that kids frequently shop."

"The Dixie County SWAT members have presented to many elected officials over the past few years," added Anderson, "and each time they have seen the reaction of the elected official when they learn about these products and how they are targeting kids.  This PSA will allow others to learn about this issue that seems to be unnoticed until youth point it out."

David Gumbs
David Gumbs on location in Ocala.

"I am proud to be a part of this video," said Dixie County High School Student David Gumbs, "and I am positive it will change the way decision makers look at candy flavored tobacco".

The Quit Doc Research and Education Foundation helped produce the film, setting up a temporary studio at their office in Ocala, Florida. The staff converted a spare office by suspending a simple blue screen from the ceiling. "It is the same technique used by your local weatherman," said Dr. Barry Hummel, who directed the film. "It allows us to put graphic information behind the students during the editing process to reinforce each point they are trying to make."

"The students were real pros," added Dr. Hummel. "Picture yourself standing on a blank stage and sharing information while imagining what images might be swirling behind you. This is exactly what these students did, which is all the more impressive when you consider that they ranged in age from 12 to 18."

Once the footage was shot, it was catalogued by Dr. Hummel, who then was tasked with cutting the film together.

"Using the material provided by the students, I had to string together the information to try and tell a linear story," said Dr. Hummel. "Once that was established, the film was populated with numerous pictures of the tobacco products that are being used to aggressively target teenagers."

Dr. Hummel also hopes to use the material to create a number of shorter 30-second and 60-second public service announcements. "With a little luck," he added, "we can get some local media outlets to runs a few of these to get the word out on this important problem."

The finished project, "Who is the Target", was made available to the public on April 24, 2013. You can view the film in its entirety here: