News and Events

Dixie County Youth Participate in Not a Lab Rat Day Activites
October 16, 2019

Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) clubs across Dixie County participated in ‘Not a Lab Rat’ day on October 16, 2019. ‘Not a Lab Rat’ Day is a statewide initiative for SWAT youth to take a stand against Big Tobacco. SWAT’s goal is to bring awareness to e-cigarette use among youth, encourage youth to stand up against Big Tobacco and the e-cigarette industry and to push for change within their communities.

E-cigarette companies use the same tricks, including flavors and marketing campaigns, tobacco companies used for decades to target and recruit young smokers. Not a surprise considering Big Tobacco companies own or have significantly invested in e-cigarette companies. These are the same tobacco companies that for decades lied about the addictiveness and health effects of cigarettes.

These products have become popular among Florida youth. Currently, one in four high schoolers and one in ten middle schoolers have used an electronic cigarette in the past thirty days. Not only do these devices contain nicotine, which is harmful to the developing brain, but the long-term health effects of these devices are unknown.

SWAT will not stand by and let Big Tobacco treat fellow peers as lab rats to test these new products. Student’s in SWAT clubs across Dixie County has played an important role in educating peers about the dangers of electronic cigarettes and have challenged peers to live tobacco-free lives and join them in the stand against Big Tobacco.

This year the Character Community SWAT Club held a NALR Basketball Tournament at the Cross City Park.  The SWAT youth reported this to be the best location to educate their peers. It was held on a Saturday, so that more youth could attend the event.  Over 20 kids and teens attended the event and each SWAT youth presented information about ENDS and other Tobacco Products.  The youth did a brief park clean up to assess the tobacco/vaping litter at the park.  A small bag of tobacco litter was gathered at the park.  The event was a great success and the SWAT youth hope to hold another SWAT Basketball Tournament soon. 

For more information on Students Working Against Tobacco and local youth efforts, please contact Melanie Anderson,