News and Events

Levy County Students Working Against Tobacco present before the Levy County Legislative Delegation
January 13 , 2015

On January 13, 2015, two Levy Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) members attended the Levy County Legislative Delegation meeting and presented information to Senator Charlie Dean and Representative Charlie Stone. The presentation emphasized the successes that SWAT and the Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP) have achieved this year in Levy County and the students also educated the delegation members about the dangers of flavored tobacco products, including cigars, blunt wraps, and smokeless tobacco.

Levy SWAT at Delegation Meeting
Elena Richardson (L) and Kimberly Rudin (R) make their presentation.

Chiefland High School SWAT Club Co-Chair, Elena Richardson, felt passionate about her opportunity to speak to state officials. “I think it’s good that adults see us speaking because it shows that teens and kids are concerned about our generation and the upcoming generation if Big Tobacco keeps targeting us and trying to get us hooked,” says Elena.

Kimberly Rudin is the Chair of the Chiefland High School SWAT club, and she was also very excited to present to the delegates, as this was her first experience attending a legislative delegation meeting. “Talking to state elected officials made me feel important because they were taking the time to hear our concerns about our generation being involved in smoking flavored tobacco,” says Kimberly.

Rep. Charlie StoneRepresentative Charlie Stone

SWAT has over 165 members Levy middle and high schools and there are a total of 28 members representing different sectors and community organizations and on the Tobacco Free Partnership, as well as youth SWAT members. In their presentation, the SWAT members highlighted the fact that the partnership and SWAT have helped pass six flavored tobacco resolutions in Levy municipalities to date. They also mentioned other policies that have been achieved by the partnership and SWAT, such as a one-hundred percent tobacco-free K-12 schools policy, a tobacco free college campus, a tobacco free Public Housing Authority, and several tobacco free community events.

Overall, the delegation members seemed interested and engaged the youth presenters with questions and discussion about tobacco use and prevention. Elena summed up her experience by saying, “Seeing [the delegates] smile and hearing the audience clap was very uplifting.” Kimberly agreed, saying, “they acted like they were impressed with our presentation.”

For more information on the SWAT program in Levy County, contact Kristina Zachry at kzachry@quitdoc.com