Tobacco Program Coordinator
Jackson County Health Department
Schools are responsible for protecting children in their charge from dangerous products. Tobacco is a product that disables and kills.
Schools must prohibit drug use in school buildings, on school grounds and at school-sponsored events. Tobacco is a drug.
Schools must be in the business of promoting health rather than enabling addictions. Tobacco is addictive.
Schools are responsible for providing a safe environment for students. Smoking materials and secondhand smoke are dangerous.
Schools can help “delay the onset” of smoking and significantly reduce the chances that youth will ever use tobacco regularly. Middle and high school years are critical in determining whether or not an individual becomes a smoker for life.
Schools must consider the other “side effects” of tobacco use. Tobacco is a gateway drug.
Schools must send clear consistent non-use messages. Allowing tobacco use at school is in conflict with prevention messages delivered in classrooms.
Schools can reduce children’s observation of tobacco use and take a firm stand against it. Perceived social acceptance of tobacco use, accurate or otherwise, influences adolescent tobacco use behavior.
Schools need to prepare students for the reality of smoke free workplaces and communities. Workplaces and communities are becoming increasingly smoke free.
It is important that schools model respect for state laws and community ordinances. Laws intentionally limit access and possession of tobacco by children.
School districts would be wise to protect themselves from liability risk. Schools may face liability issues by allowing smoking on their premises.
It’s the right thing to do. Period.
Also, Tonya Pogue wanted to add the following information:
The Tobacco-Free service to our schools is all because of the funding that Jackson County receives through the Jackson County Community Health Action Team (JCCHAT) from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) to make these tools available for this community and encourage members to become healthier through educating on the dangers of tobacco use. A large part of the efforts of this program is also to educate youth on the dangers so that they are not the replacement tobacco users of tomorrow. The tobacco companies work very hard to recruit new tobacco users each day and the most impressionable group in our society are our youth. The youth of the nation are seen as the replacement smokers of the future. The tobacco industry markets their products to appeal to teenagers and middle school age youth in the hopes that they will try the products and then become addicted and use tobacco through adulthood. The Big Tobacco Industry spends approximately $245.8 mission in Oklahoma each year to advertise their deadly products. For anyone who is currently a tobacco user and would like information on how to quit, please contact the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline at 1 800 QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669). The web based service is available at www.OKHelpline.com. The phone call and web service are free to everyone. Most people who call the help line or use the web based service are eligible to receive free patches, gum or lozenges. Thousands of Oklahomans have already called and found that the Help Line works. There are Quit Coaches available as well, because it is difficult to quit and stay quit. Quitting is hard, but you increase your chances of success with help. QUIT NOW; there’s never been a better time.