News and Events

Highlands County Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Share Tobacco Prevention Information at the Highlands County Fair
February 16, 2019

Highlands County SWAT Chapter participated in the annual Highlands County Fair from February 9-16, 2019. The fair has become an annual sponsorship for the Tobacco Free Partnership and this year was a great success with the same theme, but a different approach! The Highlands County Fair took place over 8 days in Highlands County and included fair rides, an exhibit hall, live-stock show, and more.  It captured community members, business leaders, youth and parents from all over the county, who were provided with information on the dangers of smokeless tobacco and secondhand smoke exposure.

Moreover, since it was the week before “Through With Chew Week,” the SWAT Clubs kicked off the celebrations a week early, by centering their booth design around the holiday. The students showed up with their SWAT T-shirts on, hand-made signs and TWCW material provided by the Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida. They also displayed other educational items such as “Mr. Gross Mouth,” and “Mr. Dip Lip,” which were a big hit! In addition, there was a large SWAT graffiti poster hanging and fair goers were encouraged to help decorate the poster and sign their pledge to not use chewing tobacco.

“I can’t get over how much exposure we received this year. I am so excited that we were able to reach so many people and deliver the Through With Chew Week messaging,” said Amanda John.

In addition, the SWAT Chapter also helped raise awareness about tobacco-free events by hanging breaths easy zone signs around the perimeter. The SWAT Chapter and the Tobacco Free Partnership of Highlands County has a goal this year of moving the Highlands County Fair Association towards adopting a Tobacco Free Event & Venue policy. At the fairgrounds fresh air can only be found indoors and at the few breathe easy zones. Meanwhile, harmful secondhand smoke hangs over the long lines of people, surrounds the oversized stuffed animals that young children are eager to win and engulfs the myriad of people scarfing down their Italian sausages and funnel cakes. While breaths easy zones are a great start, they do not encompass the entirety of the policy that the TFP and SWAT Chapter are striving for, which is 100% Tobacco Free Event/Venue. By reaching this goal, the TFP & SWAT Chapter would be helping the Highlands County Fair Association protect the health and safety of their attendees, as well as ensure the cleanliness and integrity of their property.      

For more information on the Tobacco Free Partnership, SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) or Tobacco Free Events & Venues, contact Amanda John, Tobacco Prevention Specialist at