Sarasota, FL- Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) is Florida’s statewide youth organization working to mobilize, educate, and equip Florida youth to revolt against and de-glamorize Big Tobacco. SWAT is a united movement of empowered youth working towards a tobacco free future.
In March Sarasota County SWAT clubs will be taking a stand to stop youth from getting hooked on deadly tobacco products by participating in Kick Butts Day.Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids that empowers youth to stand out, speak up, and seize control against tobacco. Each year, over 1,000 events take place across the United States and on military bases around the world.
“Events like Kick Butts Day highlight the harmful consequences of tobacco use in today’s society,” said Amber Nase, Sarasota County SWAT Coordinator.
Topics highlighted during Kick Butts Day include the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics, as well as proven solutions that can win the fight against tobacco.
Kick Butts Day will begin with Sarasota County SWAT accepting a proclamation from the Sarasota County Commissioners on March 14th. SWAT youth will hold an 89 Souls Campaign at North Port High School. The event will display 89 pairs of shoes to represent the number of Floridians that die DAILY due to tobacco related illnesses. Sarasota Middle School SWAT youth will participate in a honk-a-thon on March 21st at the parent drop-off where they will be holding posters to promote Kick Butts Day.
Recently, five SWAT youth traveled to Tallahassee, February 12th for Advocacy Days to speak with Sarasota County state representatives including Senator Greg Steube about tobacco issues in our county.
“The youth had the opportunity to talk with legislators about tobacco-free schools, smoking in cars with children, menthol tobacco products, raising the age to purchase tobacco to 21, and smoke-free beaches and parks,” said Nase.
Tobacco kills 89 Floridians each day, remaining the number one preventable cause of death; representing more deaths than from AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, murders, suicides, drugs, and fires combined. Ninety percent of smokers start using tobacco regularly by the time they are eighteen. Each day, more than 1,000 kids become new regular smokers; roughly one-third of them will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease.
For more information on the SWAT program please visit our statewide website at www.swatflorida.com you can also see what Sarasota County SWAT is doing by going to www.swatsc.com. For more information about Kick Butts Day please visit https://www.kickbuttsday.org/.