News and Events

Local Students Working Against Tobacco Members Attend Regional Training in Bradford County
June 09, 2018

On Saturday, June 9th, 2018 the Ruth Rains Middle School SWAT advisor, Mr. Richard Whittington and two SWAT youth, Mary and Alice, attended the Regional SWAT Meeting at the Montgomery Center in Starke, Florida. 

During the meeting, the Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) members presented the new SWAT Campaign, “Not a Lab Rat” that is a call to action to fight against E.N.D.S. (Electronic Nicotine Delivery System).  E.N.D.S. are also known as electronic cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, vape pin and e-hookah.  A new and very popular E.N.D.S. product, Juul contains the equivalent to a pack of cigarettes worth of nicotine.  Juul has such a high capacity of nicotine; there is a limit to how much you can buy in one month.

After presenting on the history of E.N.D.S. the flavors, health implications and marketing tactics, the YAB encouraged a Call to Action for SWAT by “Educating, Empowering and Enlisting” to counteract the growing use rate of E.N.D.S. 

Photo Voice is another exciting project that the SWAT youth learned about during the Regional SWAT meeting.  Photo Voice is a process by which people can identify, represent and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique.  The main goal of Photo Voice is to record and reflect a community’s strengths and concerns.  It uses pictures to promote conversations, to grow knowledge about important issues and to reach policy makers with solutions.

Photo Voice can be an excellent tool to use when there is a need to create awareness around a certain issue or concern.  The Dixie County SWAT youth concerns include youth tobacco use rate, lack of perception of tobacco harm, tobacco use rate in schools in areas with high retailer density and premature death and cancer diagnosis caused by tobacco-related illness.

Mr. Whittington reported that the Region 2 SWAT Meeting went very well and he got some ideas and resources for next year for RRMS SWAT club.  Both SWAT youth that attended the Regional meeting will be promoted up to the Dixie County High School SWAT club so they will be able to bring this experience and knowledge with them for the next school year.

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