On February 23, in observance of the Threw with Chew Week, the Hendry County SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) along with the Florida Department of Health, Hendry County Tobacco Prevention program created a float and participated in the annual Labelle Swamp Cabbage parade. The SWAT float raised awareness about the dangers of Chewing Tobacco and how youth can stop the spread of misinformation regarding Tobacco products. Posters hung from the float stating, “Through with Chew Week.”
Prior to that day SWAT youth had also educated students, faculty and staff on what Through with Chew Week is and challenged users to quit for the day. SWAT Students also held hand drawn posters and handed out palm cards to educate and equip Hendry County residents and youth to revolt against Big Tobacco’s effort to recruit youth to buy their products. Posters that were held by students had strong statements that shouted, “I AM NOT A LAB RAT” and “I AM NOT A REPLACEMENT!”
The slogan, “I am not a Lab Rat”, referred to the unknown health effects of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) being marketed to the younger generation in nicotine-packed products that resemble child products. The slogan, “I am not a replacement”, served as a reminder to Big Tobacco that youth will not allow Big Tobacco to target youth as replacements smokers for 1,300 lives lost each day in the United States caused by Tobacco products. The SWAT students and float had an awesome response from patrons watching the parade float pass by.