Miami-Dade County teens help lead Florida’s anti-tobacco movement

Miami, Florida. – Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT), Florida’s statewide youth-led movement to combat the tobacco and nicotine industries, announced the names of its newest Youth Advocacy Board members . Saesha Wani of Jose Marti MAST 6-12 Academy and Kyle King of Palmetto High School in Miami have been named members of the Youth Defense Board of Directors. Members of the Youth Advocacy Board help recruit and retain SWAT members, help plan and implement SWAT activities, and serve as a liaison between the state SWAT organization and their local SWAT members by providing updates. updates and recommendations as needed.

The Youth Advocacy Board works in conjunction with the Florida Department of Health‘s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida to help plan SWAT initiatives and goals and provides information about the state’s youth prevention efforts. SWAT aims to empower, educate and equip young people in Florida to stand up against Big Tobacco. Students work with county providers to support initiatives that educate their peers about tobacco and nicotine use, help protect youth from tobacco, and strengthen local policies, including those that protect youth from exposure electronic cigarette products.

In 2021, 36.3% of high school students in Florida said they had tried inhaled nicotine products[i]. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance that can impair the development of the brain, which does not stop developing until around the age of 25.[ii] and even e-cigarette products marketed as nicotine-free have been found to contain traces of it. SWAT raises awareness of the dangers posed by electronic cigarettes and nicotine products and aims to make them less acceptable and less accessible.

Other teenagers elected to the Youth Advocacy Board are, from Region 1: Alyssa Wheeler; Devyn Langley, Shanae Kisi; Nataleigh Parham. Region 2: Natasha counts; Isabelle Baxter; Ivy Baxter; Mackenzie Donnelly. Region 3: Kamya Williams; Gunner Reynolds; Mahika Podarala; Brian Amador. Region 4: Toni Maxwell; Isabelle Velez; David Egues.

“I look forward to working with my peers to advocate for tobacco control and take action in our communities, said Saesha Wani. “I am grateful to work with so many talented young minds to achieve our goals,” said Kyle King. “The family we’ve created here is amazing and I’m excited for the world to see what we have next.”

Members of the SWAT Youth Advocacy Board will serve one term until June 30, 2022.

[i] Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS), Florida Department of Health, Bureau of Epidemiology, 2021. (Accessed January 6, 2022)

[ii] US Department of Health and Human Services. E-cigarette use among youth and young adults. A report from the medical general. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2016. (Accessed January 6, 2022)

About Student Work Against Tobacco (SWAT)

SWAT is a Florida statewide youth organization working to mobilize, educate and equip Florida youth to rise up in revolt against Big Tobacco and the cigarette industry electronics and de-glamorize it. SWAT is a united movement of empowered youth working for a tobacco-free future.

To learn more about student action against tobacco, visit or follow us on Instagram at @swatflorida.

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