News and Events

Okeechobee High School Youth Elected to Serve on the Statewide SWAT Youth Advocacy Board
June 10, 2018

At the Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) regional meeting on June 9, Mariah Spelts of Okeechobee County was elected as a Region 4 Youth Advisory Board (YAB) representative by a consensus of SWAT Youth from Indian River County south to the Florida Keys.

SWAT is Florida’s statewide youth-led movement to combat the tobacco industry.  The SWAT Youth Advisory Board is a sixteen-member group of students who are elected annually by their peers to serve as regional representatives and youth advisors for the statewide tobacco program. There are four representatives elected for each of Florida’s four tobacco control regions.

The Youth Advocacy Board works in collaboration with the Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco Free Florida to help plan SWAT organization’s direction and goals and provide input on the state’s youth prevention efforts. Students work with county grantees to support initiatives that educate their peers about tobacco use, help protect youth from tobacco, and strengthen local policies.


“I wanted to run for the state board because I see the problems that tobacco causes in my local community,” said Spelts. “I want to help create a new generation of youth that are tobacco free.”

Spelts plans to focus on changing the social norms that using tobacco makes you cool and working with local tobacco staff to help educate the community of the harmful effects of Electronic Cigarettes.

“Mariah is the first student from Okeechobee County to ever serve on the Statewide SWAT board and will be a great representation for her school and county,” said Okeechobee County SWAT Coordinator Courtney Moyett.   “She has been a member of our local SWAT club for the past three years and will serve as President of the SWAT club at Okeechobee High School during this upcoming school year.  Mariah’s is a proven leader and I am looking forward to seeing all that she does with her new position.”

SWAT aims to empower, educate and equip Florida youth to revolt against Big Tobacco. The group is a movement of inspired youth working together to de-glamorize tobacco use. Its efforts aim to shape tobacco free norms, and make tobacco less desirable, less acceptable and less accessible.

For more information on local youth tobacco prevention efforts, visit or