El Paso County Youth Coalitions Combat Tobacco in Schools

marzo 21st, 2018

By Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Youth coalitions are working hard to develop school-based activities that educate their peers about the harms of tobacco and promote tobacco-free school policy.

El Paso County Public Health’s youth coalitions (known as Students Working Against Tobacco — or SWAT Teams) work to develop school-based infrastructure to help their youth achieve their goals related to prevention.

Sand Creek High School SWAT facilitators Colonel Joey Hinson and Rebekah Davis started the 2017-2018 school year by recruiting 15 students to participate in SWAT club. The SWAT club meets monthly to educate their peers on the harms of tobacco and promote the tobacco-free school policy at Sand Creek. In October 2017, the SWAT club had the opportunity to speak at the District 49 Wellness Committee meeting and provide information and resources to committee members on the tobacco-free school policy.

The goal of the SWAT students is to have the work at Sand Creek spread to the entire district. In November, the group organized local activities for the Great American Smokeout.The SWAT club ordered materials from The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, including a banner that was displayed throughout the school day and signed by students pledging to #BeTheFirst generation to end tobacco use.

SWAT was able to collect over 150 signatures from students during the day and reach around 500 students at their educational table during lunch hours. With such great work this early in the school year and a group of dedicated students, we are excited to see what’s coming next.