News and Events

Local Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Attend Regional Training on Current Tobacco Prevention Issues
September 13, 2014

Dixie County High School SWAT President, Josh Diaz and Vice President Ivey Sapp attended the 2014 SWAT Region 2 Meeting at the Thrasher-Horne Conference Center on the campus of Saint Johns River State College in Orange Park, Florida on Saturday, September 13, 2014. 
Josh and Ivey

During the meeting the SWAT officers were able to meet SWAT youth from counties across North Central Florida.  Interactive Icebreaker activities allowed the youth to open up and share with other youth that they have never met before.  Josh said that the Icebreaker activities were “great for meeting other students that have the same commitment to make a difference in their communities”. 

Two SWAT youth gave a presentation “Tobacco 2.0, Making Tobacco History” that covered where tobacco prevention is heading in the future and highlighted some of the most recent changes.  The presenters highlighted CVS Health’s decision to no longer stock or sell tobacco products.  Many students shared how their SWAT Clubs were thanking local CVS pharmacies for that great change.

The presentation also highlighted all of the counties in Florida that have adopted electronic cigarette policies including Dixie County.  The passing of the State of Florida’s age restriction on electronic cigarettes was cheered but the need for stricter regulation on advertising and the use of flavored nicotine products was noted. 

All of the attending SWAT youth participated in Table Top discussions on topics that matter to SWAT. 

The table top discussion on “Support Matters” helped SWAT youth identify different types of support that are important for a successful SWAT chapter.  The support of Community partners and decision-makers support is required to pass local policy changes that can reduce Big Tobacco influence on youth and to protect them from secondhand smoke.  Media support is also important to get the message out, including press releases and to invite the media to SWAT events. 

The “Interaction Matters” table top discussion helped Ivey understand that it is important for SWAT youth to share the tobacco facts, and to have fun with it to keep it interesting for the new recruits and to build support from the community.

Interaction Matters!
Ivey Sapp learns that "Interaction Matters"!

The “Trending Matters” was a table top discussion that covered some of the alternative tobacco products such as electronic cigarettes and hookah.  The SWAT youth discussed why they need to educate other SWAT youth and community members about these products, to continue to research the laws related to these products, and to monitor local use rates that have been increasing since such products have been introduced into the market.  Josh and Ivey discussed the need to educate the SWAT members at Dixie County High School about Hookah, they are currently planning a presentation at the next SWAT meeting. 

Other important Table Top topics were “Meeting Matters” and “Legal Matters”, where Ivey stated “I learned that there are a lot of components of the law that go into SWAT”.  They also learned about the fundamentals of preemption and how it can affect proposed laws.   

Josh also added, “The Table Tops introduced facts that can help to spread our SWAT club ideas and how other community members can help spread the message.” 
They SWAT youth had a great opportunity to participate in the election of the 2014-15 Youth Advocacy Board (YAB).  Each candidate gave a campaign speech and SWAT youth had an opportunity to ask them questions.  After the vote, all three candidates were elected to hold the positions. 

The Region 2 SWAT meeting closed out with “The Big Reveal” of a new statewide campaign and they were able to access a website associated with the campaign.  The full campaign will be released in Mid-October, so watch this space for more details.  The Dixie County SWAT officers are excited to participate in this campaign in Dixie County.

For more information on the SWAT program in Dixie County, contact Melanie Anderson at