New S.W.A.T. Youth Advocacy Board member encourages classmates to avoid smoking

Olivia Rodriguez

Crestview High School senior Olivia Rodriguez, pointing to an interesting fact on an anti-smoking poster, is the lone North Okaloosa resident named to the Students Working Against Tobacco Youth Advocacy Board.

BRIAN HUGHES/News Bulletin
Published: Monday, November 11, 2013 at 03:18 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Olivia Rodriguez's determination to nip her peers' experimentation with tobacco in the bud comes from a lifelong effort to get family members to kick the habit.

"I have a family who smokes," the Crestview High School senior said. "When I was little, I'd ask them to stop for me. They'd quit for a little while, but then they'd say, 'Oh, it's so hard' and start again."

Olivia didn't want to see fellow Bulldogs become similarly addicted, and in 10th grade joined the school's Students Working Against Tobacco, or S.W.A.T., club.

From beach clean-ups to poster making, the group makes itself known on campus, but, Olivia said, it's often the one-on-one peer communication that has the most impact.

For her efforts, the teenager has been appointed to the statewide Students Working Against Tobacco Youth Advocacy Board.

The board helps the statewide S.W.A.T. organization determine the direction and scope of its youth tobacco prevention efforts under the state Department of Health's Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida.

Listen to the little voice

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