Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) Clubs in Marion County are Ready for an Exciting 2019-2020 School Year!

September 10, 2019

Schools across the state are back in session and that means SWAT Recruitment season is in full swing!  We are excited to see familiar faces as well as welcoming new members to the SWAT Community.   A few of our clubs have already reported meetings are gearing up for Red Ribbon Week activities.

One of our very own Marion County SWAT Club members had the opportunity to speak to the Legislative Delegation from Tallahassee. Mis Abbie Slaughter, with the Ocala Sea Anchor Division SWAT Club, wrote a very passionate, very eloquent speech about why tobacco free policies are important to her on a personal level, the environment and the local tourism economy.  Abbie was a bit nervous to speak in a room full of so many important people but she took a deep breath, had her notes and got through it!  She was rewarded for her bravery with a round of applause from the audience and two thumbs up from Senator Rob Bradley (R) District 5.  Below is Abbie’s speech.

“Good afternoon, my name is Abigail Slaughter, I’m thirteen years old, I’m an eighth grader at Osceola Middle School, and I’m here to tell you why I believe that it is important to have tobacco free policies for our local parks. I was born and raised in Florida and I spend a lot of time outside doing lots of different activities. I love being outdoors and I like being able to breathe clean fresh air. We have a lot of great parks in Marion County and it is disappointing when I go to these parks and see people smoking and vaping, and I find all sorts of tobacco litter, especially near the playground. This is upsetting because little kids shouldn’t have to be exposed to such things when they want to go outside to play. I also feel that it is not right that people are exposed to secondhand smoke against their will when they are trying to be healthy or have fun. The tobacco litter (Cigarette butts, wrappers, and cellophane, the plastic wrapping around cigarettes) is destroying our environment and endangering our wildlife, which as an animal lover, I feel very passionate about. It can also affect our aquatic habitats, which would affect our aquatic wildlife, and the tourist industries. This would have a negative effect on people who, for example, run charter businesses such as my stepdad. Read More