SANFORD, FL â€“ In January, the Seminole Prevention Coalition welcomed a representative from Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) to our meeting to discuss Big Tobaccoâ€™s efforts to target kids with ads and flavored tobacco products.
SWAT is Floridaâ€™s statewide youth organization working to mobilize, educate and equip Florida youth to revolt against and de-glamorize Big Tobacco. The organization is open to 6th- to 12th-graders.
Our guest speaker was Shirley Castillo, of Lake Mary High School, who has been active in SWAT for more than six years. She gave an eye-opening presentation about tobacco marketing.
In 2011, Big Tobacco spent more than $8.37 billion in advertising and promotion, mostly on point of sale ads.
â€œAlmost every tobacco product that they sale is flavored,â€ Shirley said, adding that fruit- and candy-flavored products are aimed at young people in an attempt to replace people who die from smoking.
Later in January, SWAT is scheduled for an educational meeting with Winter Springs City Mayor Charles Lacey to discuss flavored-tobacco issues. A Coalition representative will be on hand for support.
You can learn more about SWAT at www.swatflorida.com and learn how to quit smoking at Tobacco Free Florida at www.tobaccofreeflorida.com