News and Events

Bronson SWAT Members Recruit New Advocates
September 10, 2020

In many ways, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life as we know it, and tobacco control advocacy has not been spared. The Florida Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) program has always had a strong virtual presence and the youth on the statewide Youth Advocacy Board (YAB) are well versed on presenting information and interacting with their peers in a virtual format. Fortunately, online youth advocacy was an easy transition for the program this summer during the pandemic.

Now that school is back in session and face-to-face social engagement is tentatively resuming, many local SWAT clubs are focusing on recruitment of new youth advocates and retention of previous SWAT members. Levy County SWAT has already hit the ground running this school year for homeschool youth as well as in several schools including Cedar Key, Yankeetown, and Bronson. Chiefland SWAT will be resuming soon and Williston’s SWAT advisor position is currently open. Some clubs are maintaining a virtual meeting format for the first part of the school year, and others are meeting with social distancing and masks strongly encouraged.

Bronson Middle High School SWAT spent some time at their first meeting this year getting to know new members and engaging returning members by interviewing each other and learning more about SWAT. Many young people join SWAT to spread awareness and encourage their loved ones to quit and these new members were no exception.


New Bronson SWAT Members (L to R) Robert Russel, Chelsey Holt, Hana Irizarry, Graci Eubanks

Graci Eubanks joined because she wants to “help other people who want to [use tobacco] – show them what the consequences are.”

Hana Irizarry joined “because my uncle smokes and my grandpa chews tobacco.”

Chelsey Holt also mentioned her loved ones who are addicted to tobacco and she has a plan to educate them that “it’s bad for health and rots teeth – I want to give them information about why they should stop using it.”

Robert Russel shared a similar story: “because my whole family smokes and I want to stop them.”


Bronson SWAT Members Carlos Munoz and sister Karin Roque


Returning Bronson SWAT Members Destiny Bosley and Madison Ables


Bronson SWAT Member Jennixia Rodriguez


Carlos Munoz was recruited by his sister and credits her with his interest in joining the club.

Destiny Bosley is a returning member who continues to advocate for being tobacco free because she feels that “It’s important for people to stop smoking so they don’t die.”

Many times, young people join SWAT for the purpose of sharing cessation information with loved ones and end up learning so much about the tobacco industry that they also pursue educating the general public as well as their peers about the chemicals in tobacco, the addictiveness, and the predatory tactics the tobacco industry uses to addict youth.

For example, Jennixia Rodriguez has been an active Bronson SWAT member for three years and she said, “When I joined, I thought I could stop people from smoking to make their lives better.” She continued, “Now I want to make sure people never start by telling them about how addictive it is and let them know how dangerous the Big Tobacco industry can be.”

Although they may be physically distanced, Levy SWAT members will continue their mission to share cessation resources with their loved ones who are addicted as well as telling their peers, the community, and especially decision makers about the impact the tobacco industry has on youth. They will also share ways that the community can support healthy and tobacco free citizens by passing meaningful and impactful policies to protect youth.

To learn more about Levy SWAT, find out how you can join, or start a club please contact us at info@TFP-Levy.org or visit www.SWATFlorida.com.