Dunnellon Christian Academy Celebrates Kick Butts Day
March 9, 2017

“Are those real?” and “Awesome! Awe gross!” was the primary reaction from the youth as they entered the room for the Kick Butts Day awareness presentation. Proving that information that is well organized and planned has the potential to carry a strong message. That’s exactly what the Dunnellon Christian Academy SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) Club did this year. The youth prepared a verbal presentation, and scheduled for the local tobacco prevention specialist (TPS) to attend with a lung simulator display. This event demonstrated leadership and dedication by the participating SWAT officers who, with enthusiasm and concern for the choices that they and their peers will be confronted with surrounding tobacco use, communicated Big Tobacco’s aim to target youth as replacement tobacco users.

The Dunnellon Christian Academy SWAT Club expands to the entire 6th, 7th, and 8th grades totaling 27 active members with leadership roles maintained by 16 youth. For this event, it was the highly engaged and committed officers who coordinated the special presentation, and delivered the Kick Butts Day message. They specifically requested the lung simulator display for their presentation, and the Marion County TPS was happy to assist.

The TPS expanded on the SWAT officer’s points, explaining just what the tobacco use death toll amounts to: a jumbo jet filled to capacity, and crashing every day. Additionally, supporting their message about Big tobacco needing replacements for these deaths occurring every day, and that it is accomplished through marketing tactics and flavored tobacco targeting youth. Moving to the lung display, the TPS went on to explain how tobacco use affects the lungs, and providing instruction on the simulator revealing these consequences.

Once the presentation was completed the lung simulator was open to youth to find the tumor inside the blackened lung, try the pump to expand the lungs, and most importantly, sign a pledge to never use tobacco. Finally, the youth were given the opportunity to answer pop questions about information provided to them during the presentation.    

The success of SWAT is visible every time a presentation like this one takes place. Youth can see the real threat of tobacco use, and manipulative tactics that are aimed directly at them by huge corporations. In many cases, it is the consistency of this message that will determine the outcome of their future. Kick Butts Day is an important tobacco awareness day for this reason, and for forming the leaders of tomorrow through SWAT’s youth empowerment model. The participating youth should be celebrated for their hard work and tenacity when they take on something bigger than they can realize at such a young age. With great pride, this Kick Butts Day awareness presentation was so successful because youth with that exceptional capacity are right here in Marion County.

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 Tobacco Prevention Specialist Lauren Walter: 352-598-8241 , LWalter@QuitDoc.com