Marion County SWAT Clubs Fall Activities
December 16, 2019

Members of the Marion County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Chapter participated in a number of activities this fall to share tobacco prevention information.

The Region 2 SWAT Summit was held in Starke, on October 12th and two youth from the Sea Cadets SWAT Club were able to attend the training event. They learned about e-cigarettes, the ways social media can be used to promote anti-tobacco messaging, and got some great practice on how to be an effective public speaker. They also learned about the newest anti-tobacco observance “Not A Lab Rat” Day, to be held annually, on the third Thursday in October. “Not A Lab Rat” educates and promotes the message to youth to not be the next generation of nicotine users. “Not A Lab Rat” Day was held on October 16th and several of the clubs created PSA’s for the morning announcements at their schools, and posters for the bulletin boards in the common areas. SWAT Club members wore their SWAT Shirts to school to promote the observance.

Red Ribbon Week is big in Marion County and there is an annual kickoff event in which several of the clubs volunteered.  Each day of Red Ribbon Week has a different theme and Tuesday has become “Talk About Tobacco Tuesday” and the youth create anti-tobacco messages using multiple mediums. Some clubs used this day to observe “Not A Lab Rat” while other clubs used the Red Ribbon theme of “Send A Message…Stay Drug Free” to create screen shots of text messages from peers trying to get them to try tobacco or vape products.

The 4th Annual Fort King Haunted Trails was a huge success this year. After a torrential down pour nearly shut down the event, the skies cleared and the people came out!  There were over 4,300 people in attendance this year and the SWAT table was busy, busy, busy!  This event has been sponsored and attended by SWAT Clubs of Marion County since its inception and the community members really enjoy having the opportunity to speak with us about tobacco and now, vaping. This years’ focus was centered around “Not A Lab Rat” which fit perfectly with the Halloween theme of the event.  Our table was decorated as a mad scientist lab complete with giant rats and beakers of “dangerous” chemicals!  One of our most dedicated SWAT Club members spoke to the youth and distributed SWAT pens, pencils and “Not A Lab Rat” pins.

Through a partnership with the local drug coalition, several of our SWAT Club youth had the opportunity to attend Prevention Advocacy Day in Tallahassee on December 11th.  The youth had the opportunity to meet with multiple state representatives and got the chance to discuss the TFP of Marion County with Rep. Evan Jenne from Broward County.  It was a great experience for the youth and we look forward to going back next year!

If you would like more information on the Tobacco Prevention Program, Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), or the QuitDoc Foundation, please contact the Marion County SWAT coordinator Tammy Slaughter at 352.209.9628 or TSlaughter@QuitDoc.com.