The Franklin County S.W.A.T. were invited to participate in the countywide political forum by a civic grassroots organization Hillside Coalition of Laborers for Apalachicola (H'COLA) on July 19 and 21 at the Holy Family Center.

They were given the opportunity to ask questions regarding tobacco-free initiatives to each of the candidates who were running for superintendent of schools, which were five, and the two candidates who were running to be a school board member in their district.

The first question was: If you are elected, would you be willing to reach out to the county commissioners and work in partnership with them to explore what it would take to address the Point of Sale (POS) issue in our county? The SWAT youth gave a definition of POS advertising at retail outlets and explained how it affects Franklin County.

The second question was: If elected will you commit to assuring the students of Franklin County that all of the strides that Franklin County SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco) have worked so hard to accomplish over the past few years will stay in place at Franklin County School? The 12 Comprehensive Components of the K-12 Tobacco-Free Schools are currently in the school’s Code of Conduct.

"Our Partnership members and SWAT youth’s hope is that whoever is elected in these races will continue to be advocates in the future to defend their stand on the Smokeless and POS policy initiatives to ensure that it will be harder for our youth to engage in smokeless tobacco use," said Gina Moore, Tobacco Prevention Specialist at the Florida Department of Health in Franklin County