This week, Crestview High School, Laurel Hill School and Fort Walton Beach High School's Students Working Against Tobacco members are educating the public about the dangers of chewing tobacco.
They're providing lunchtime presentations as part of an ongoing effort to teach others about smokeless tobacco's harmful effects.
Last week, Crestview High School student SWAT members Shayna Clay, Erika Newland and Olivia Rodriguez presented a resolution to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in Niceville, which the City Council unanimously approved. Niceville joins Crestview, Laurel Hill and Fort Walton Beach in the ban.
Such efforts, including those from the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County and Tobacco Free Florida, aim to encourage longer lives.
“Tobacco use is the No. 1 cause of preventable death in the United States; and nearly 90 percent of tobacco users started before they were 18 years old,” Karen Chapman, the Okaloosa health department's director, said.
“Tobacco products that taste like chocolate, candy or fruit appeal to kids, so banning the sale of these products is a great step in the right direction.”