News and Events

Members of Bradford County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Attend Regional Training in Orange Park
September 13, 2014

Bradford County Middle School SWAT President, Madison Bennett and Vice President Bailee Sheppard 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.

Bradford County SWAT
Bradford County High School Officers Bailee Sheppard (L) and Madison Bennett (R)

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.  Madison said “The ice-breaker was a great way to meet SWAT students from other counties in North Florida.” 

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 Bradford 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.

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.

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.   

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 Bradford County SWAT officers are excited to participate in this campaign in Bradford County.

For more information on the SWAT program in Bradford County, contact Jenna Hewett at