News and Events

DeSoto Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Members Are Working Hard to Promote the Dangers of Tobacco Use in our Local Parks
November 5, 2022

Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill into law which could have a major positive impact on Floridians health. The Florida Clean Air Act is an update to an existing law which targets vaping and tobacco smoking in public spaces. Under this new law, local governments are now allowed to restrict smoking at public beaches and public parks which they own. The new law is designed to protect people from secondhand smoke and crack down on the abundance of litter from cigarette butts in recreational spaces.

SWAT Youth have been busy at work educating our community on the dangers of tobacco use and how it can harm users and non-users through secondhand smoke. Although, our small community took a devastating hit from Hurricane Ian and our schools were closed for some time, our students have done a great job being active in the community.

On November 5th, two of our SWAT youth from the new community club attended the regional SWAT meeting that was held in Lakeland, FL. We appreciate Jaliyah Luther and Gracie Sager taking time out of their weekend to represent our county at the meeting and learn more about our new goal area of reducing tobacco use and exposure in Public Spaces. They acquired knowledge and talking points on how to better educate our community in this area. Jaliyah and Gracie enjoyed the training and being able to converse with other SWAT members from different counties to get ideas for our SWAT clubs.

We have been working closely with DeSoto County Board of Commissioners and City Council members for the new Public Spaces goal area to make our parks tobacco free here in DeSoto County. The City of Arcadia already has a tobacco free zones resolution in place, so we have high hopes that they will adopt the new ordinance now that they can legally enforce it. In the new year, our SWAT youth will be meeting with the county commissioners and city council members to pitch their ideas and ask for tobacco free parks.

We are so very proud of our youth and the initiative they are putting forth to advocate for their health and a tobacco free future in DeSoto County. We recently established a new community club in hopes that we can reach more youth and our high school club has also recruited new active members, as well as adults, who are helping volunteer their time to spread awareness and reduce the use of social norms and tobacco use in our community. Quarter two was a huge success and we look forward to what’s to come.  

If you are interested in volunteering with our SWAT Youth, have a child that would like to join the club, or would like more information, please contact Lindsey Sager, Tobacco Prevention Specialist at