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June 10, 2019

World Health Organization Recognizes Florida Youth for Addressing

Youth Vaping Epidemic  

Communications Office

(786) 336-1276


Miami, Florida– Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), Florida’s youth-led statewide organization, is one of six individuals and groups to be honored with a 2019 World No Tobacco Day award for their Not A Lab Rat campaign.

Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) awards winners to recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of the policies and measures contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The WHO celebrates World No Tobacco Day each year on May 31 to raise awareness of the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

In 2018, SWAT launched the Not A Lab Rat campaign in response to the epidemic-level spike in youth e-cigarette use around the country and in Florida.[i] The statewide initiative seeks to correct misconceptions about the health consequences related to use of e-cigarettes and urges Florida youth to declare that they will not be test subjects in the vaping industry’s long-term experiment.  

“We are proud of Students Working Against Tobacco on this major accomplishment,” said Dr. Yesenia D. Villalta, APRN, DNP, MSN, Administrator/Health Officer for the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County. “Their efforts to educate their peers on the misconceptions of vaping is vital to protecting future generations from nicotine addiction and is deserving of this recognition.”

For decades, SWAT has worked diligently to mobilize, educate, and equip Florida youth in revolting against and de-glamorizing the tobacco industry. SWAT coordinates its efforts through a Youth Advocacy Board (YAB), a 16-member board that consists of SWAT members elected by their peers. The youth leaders elected to the YAB develop statewide initiatives to support prevention efforts and provide web-based and face-to-face trainings to their peers in support of local and statewide advocacy work. 

In Miami-Dade County local SWAT members have promoted the Not A Lab Rat campaign by working in collaboration with Miami Dade County Public Schools to educate students, faculty, staff and parents on the harms of e-cigarette use.  

About Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT)

SWAT is Florida’s statewide youth organization working to mobilize, educate and equip Florida youth to revolt against and de-glamorize Big Tobacco and the e-cigarette industry. SWAT is a united movement of empowered youth working towards a tobacco free future.

To learn more about Students Working Against Tobacco, visit or follow us on Instagram at @swatflorida.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit

[i] Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2018.