SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) is a youth-led movement for students 6th through 12th grade that expose big tobacco’s lies and strategic marketing tactics. SWAT’s mission statement is “to empower and unite youth to resist and expose Big Tobacco’s lies while changing current attitudes about tobacco.” Through SWAT, students advocate for changes in local tobacco policies to limit youth’s exposure to tobacco. Jackson County SWAT teams’ efforts have contributed to the passing of 24/7 tobacco free policies in seven of the eight schools. One of SWAT’s biggest successes was the passing of a city ordinance making all Altus parks tobacco free in May of this year. Members of SWAT participate in a variety of events to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco and expose big tobacco’s tactics including Red Ribbon Week, World No Tobacco Day, and Kick Butts Day.
To kick off the school year, Jackson County SWAT teams are having a back to school bash at the Altus reservoir on Aug.12 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. There will be a scavenger hunt, inflatable games and free hot dogs. All Jackson County students 6th through 12th grade who are interested in SWAT or a member of SWAT are invited to attend.
Currently, seven schools in Jackson County have SWAT programs. Olustee School is starting a SWAT program this coming school year. New members are always welcome. Each team meets monthly to organize and conduct activities to expose the tobacco industry. For more information, contact the Jackson County Tobacco Education Program at 580-483-7308.