On August 25, 1997, the State of Florida negotiated a historic agreement to settle a lawsuit and avoid trial with the tobacco industry. The late Governor Lawton Chiles and the State of Florida sued the tobacco industry due to increasing Medicaid expenses caused by tobacco related diseases among Floridians. The nationally and internationally renowned SWAT Program was a major outcome of the lawsuit. Youth throughout the State of Florida have joined together in a relentless fight against the tobacco industry and its manipulation and targeting of youth to use their product.
SWAT stands for Students Working Against Tobacco. At a Teen Tobacco Summit in March of 1998, the delegates, invigorated by what they had learned about the tobacco industry's false statements and manipulation, voted to change the campaign's theme to "Truth, a generation united against tobacco." SWAT provides youth with a number of college level skills, such as, public speaking, leadership, work ethnic, and teamwork.
SWAT chapters can be found in schools and communities throughout the State of Florida. Youth in SWAT are engaged in activities that educate their peers and policy makers about the need to change social norms related to tobacco. Since SWAT began in 1998, youth who have ever tried cigarettes has decreased by 58.7% among middle school students and 44.3% among high school students.
SWAT IS FLORIDA’S STATEWIDE YOUTH ORGANIZATION TO MOBILIZE, EDUCATE AND EQUIP FLORIDA YOUTH TO REVOLT AGAINST AND DE-GLAMORIZE BIG TOBACCO. WE ARE A UNITED MOVEMENT OF FLORIDA EMPOWERED YOUTH WORKING TOWARDS A TOBACCO-FREE FUTURE.
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