BRADENTON -- Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) want to know; If Tobacco is an adult decision, why are they marketing it to kids? They say that cherry Skoal is for someone that likes the taste of candy. When a product shortens the life of those who use it, the manufacturer is always looking for new customers to replace the dead ones. The kids from SWAT aren't buying it.
SWAT club members, Rachael Strebel and Ashton Mulvany played a video at the Manatee County Commissioner meeting Tuesday. Joined by club members, Elea Smith, Alex Fink and Joseph Harris, they starred in a video production (see below), exposing the tobacco industry's attempt at luring kids into consuming their products.
Jessica May, from Manatee County Substance Abuse Coalition (MCSAC), escorted the SWAT club to the BOCC chambers where they met the commissioners and Florida House Representative Jim Boyd, (R-Bradenton). Boyd invited SWAT and their video to Tallahassee, so they could convince legislators into supporting a bill that would establish statewide rules preventing tobacco companies from targeting kids.
Megan Jourdan, from the Manatee Health Department and Julie Arranibar, from the Manatee County Board of Education, both chaperoned the group. But it was obvious that these youths were very mature and wise beyond their years. So much, that there is little doubt Tallahassee will learn something from their visit, something state legislatures should have acted on years ago.
SWAT is Florida's statewide youth organization working to mobilize, educate and equip Florida youth to revolt against and de-glamorize Big Tobacco. They are a united movement of empowered youth working towards a tobacco free future.
SWAT wants to know -- How Dumb Do They Think We Are?