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FOR RELEASE: July 6, 2000
CONTACT: Dick Gunn

SWAT Launches New Weapon to Help Fight Big Tobacco

Members of “Students Working Against Tobacco” (SWAT), a statewide youth-led movement with the mission of turning the tables on Big Tobacco, are saying “Back at Ya Big Tobacco!” through their new interactive Web site.

The newest weapon to continue the battle against Big Tobacco in Oklahoma is a new interactive Web site created by youth for youth. “It's about exposing an industry that uses us to make a 'killer' of a profit. They target us. We target them,” said Jaylynn Tatum from the Edmond SWAT team.

By logging on to the Web site at www.okswat.com, SWAT members are arming their peers with information about Big Tobacco and providing updates on the Oklahoma SWAT movement and SWAT events. As students log onto SWAT headquarters, they can check out the pop-up quote that is taken from a new internal tobacco industry document every week. Youth can also check out how Big Tobacco markets their addictive and deadly products using misleading ads. Tobacco ads dating as far back as the early 1920s are available for viewing.

This interactive site also has updates on local SWAT teams and allows SWAT members to plan activities, share their news and give a “shout out” to other kids across the state and nation working to help defend and create a tobacco-free generation. Current information on Oklahoma's SWAT media campaign is provided, including the ability to view selected SWAT ads online.

One of the features on the Web site also lets youth say “Back at Ya Big Tobacco” by allowing them to write letters to tobacco executives or magazine editors. Ann Steelman from the Tulsa SWAT team points out that “Big Tobacco is targeting us through their marketing campaigns. In Oklahoma, they spend $64 million a year to promote and advertise their tobacco products.” The letter writing feature allows students to ask “Why?”

SWAT is a youth-led movement that works to empower and unite youth across the state to resist and expose Big Tobacco's lies while changing attitudes about tobacco. For more information or to add your voice to SWAT, check out the Web site or call the Oklahoma State Department of Health at 1-877-662-8887.


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