News and Events

Bradford Middle School Students Working Against Tobacco President Speaks at Legislative Delegation Meeting
December 11 , 2014

Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Charles Van Zant met with residents of Bradford County on December 11, 2014. The legislative delegation hearing was held at the Bradford County Courthouse. Most of the issues discussed were pertaining to health.

Officers of the Bradford Middle School Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Club, President Madison Bennett and Vice-President Bailee Sheppard, were in attendance. Madison Bennett, BMS SWAT President, spoke to the legislators about the work being done in Bradford County and provided information on the local Tobacco Prevention Program.

Bradford County Legislative Delegation
From L to R: Senator Rob Bradley, Bailee Sheppard,
Madison Bennett and Representative Charles Van Zant

Madison Bennett spoke specifically about how SWAT programs in Bradford County focus on the smoke not the smoker. SWAT students believe it isn’t their place to tell someone to quit smoking but instead focus on protecting those who choose not to smoke from the health hazards of tobacco products and second-hand smoke. Madison stated that “85% of new tobacco users start between the ages of 12 and 17, before it is even legal to purchase tobacco."

Bradford County Legislative Hearing
Madison Bennett addresses the delegation.

The SWAT Chapter in Bradford County is working on reducing usage and exposure to tobacco products through many avenues and initiatives. The two main issues that the organization is working on are reducing children and youth exposure to secondhand smoke and restricting the marketing and sale of flavored tobacco products that entice youth and young adults to become addicted to tobacco.

About 10% of all tobacco-related deaths occur as a result of secondhand smoke exposure. Middle school and high school students in Bradford County report being exposed to secondhand smoke at rates significantly higher than the Florida average. For this reason, SWAT youth have the desire to focus on this issue.

The Bradford County SWAT Chapter would like to thank the Legislative Delegation for allowing Madison to share the successes and efforts of the tobacco prevention program here in Bradford County.

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