Tobacco Free Schools
The 2009 Georgia Youth Risk Behavior Survey, reported that 22,000 (6%) of middle school students and 68,000 (15%) of high school students smoked cigarettes. In DeKalb County, thirteen percent of high school students reported any tobacco use; seven percent smoke cigarettes.
In addition, 54,000 (15%) of middle school and 118,000 (26%) of high school students used tobacco products such as, cigars, cigarettes, bidis, pipe and smokeless tobacco.
To promote teen tobacco use prevention, the Georgia Tobacco Use Prevention Program of the Georgia Division of Public Health encourages school districts across the state to adopt a 100% Tobacco Free School Policy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention model policy definition is: “A ‘tobacco-free environment’ exists if the state, district, or school has a policy prohibiting cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking, and smokeless tobacco use by students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
The policy prohibits tobacco use in school buildings, on school grounds, in school buses or other vehicles used to transport students and at off-campus school-sponsored events 24 hours per day 7 days per week” (MMWR Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevent Tobacco Use and Addiction. CDC February 25, 1994/ 43 (RR-2); 1-18). In 2008-2009, City of Decatur and DeKalb County Schools adopted the 100% Tobacco Free School Policy, serving as a role model for other school districts.
Three of DeKalb County colleges and universities are taking steps for enacting a 100% Tobacco-Free Policy. According to the 2006 Surgeon General’s Report, The Health Consequences of Involuntary Exposure to Tobacco Smoke, states that exposure of adults to secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system and causes coronary heart disease and lung cancer.
The 100% Tobacco-Free Policy will apply to the colleges and universities students, staff, faculty, visitors, and vendors. Tobacco, including the use of an e-cigarette, will not be permitted in any enclosed place, including private residential space within student housing. In addition, the policy will not permit tobacco use in amphitheaters, bleachers and grandstands used for sporting events ans other public events.
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