School Health Guidelines
How You Can Help
Everyone can play a part in helping young people avoid using tobacco
products. If you are a parent or guardian, student, teacher, athletic
coach, school administrator or board member, health professional, or
anyone else who cares about the health of young people, here are some
steps you can take to make a difference in their lives.
- Teach young people that using cigarettes, cigars, and smokeless
tobacco (snuff or chew) puts them at risk for health problems and
- Voice your support for tobacco-free schools and effective
tobacco-use prevention education to school administrators and board
- Encourage merchants to limit the number of tobacco ads in their
stores, remove self-service displays, and comply with the law by
checking IDs and refusing to sell tobacco products to minors.
- Ask merchants and managers of hotels and restaurants to locate
vending machines where they will not be accessible to young people.
- Speak at a meeting or submit a letter to a local newspaper to
discuss the importance of clean indoor air restrictions and policies
that limit young people's access to tobacco products.
- Encourage coordination between school and community programs to
prevent tobacco use and addiction.
Parents or Guardians Can
- Set a good example by not using tobacco and give clear, consistent
messages about the dangers of tobacco to your children.
- Provide your children with a tobacco-free environment at home.
Support comprehensive school health programs and insist that they
include tobacco-use prevention education.
- Help your children who use tobacco set realistic goals for
quitting and give them positive reinforcement and encouragement.
- Help your children who use tobacco identify the underlying reasons
for its use and substitute positive activities, such as physical
activity or stress management, to compensate.
- Help your children critically analyze messages that glamorize
tobacco use on television, in movies, and in magazines and other print
- Join a school health committee and guide policies to prevent
- Volunteer to help school staff implement tobacco-use prevention
- Work with the school board to provide assistance programs, rather
than punishment, for students who violate tobacco-use policies.
- Share tobacco-use prevention information with your children and
talk with them about related homework assignments and projects.
- Teach peers and younger students about the importance of not using
- Ask for and support tobacco-free schools and communities.
- Encourage the school to ban ads for tobacco products from student
publications and events.
- Take elective courses in health.
- Volunteer to help in community efforts to prevent tobacco use.
- Suggest that the school paper print a story about tobacco
advertising and promotion campaigns aimed at young people.
- Set a good example by not using tobacco.
- Use curricula and teaching methods that meet the criteria in CDC's
Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevent Tobacco Use and
- Work with other school staff to coordinate tobacco-use prevention
efforts and give students consistent, reinforced messages.
- Teach tobacco use-prevention issues in a variety of classes, such
as science, history, and English.
- Encourage and support the efforts of students and school staff to
quit using tobacco.
- Prohibit tobacco use by students participating in sports and
stress the adverse effects of tobacco on sports performance.
- Involve families and community organizations in tobacco-use
- Find and use national, state, and local resources for tobacco-use
- Participate in tobacco-use prevention training and share
experiences with other teachers.
- Evaluate tobacco-use prevention activities and student progress.
School Administrators and Board Members Can
- Organize a school health committee that includes all key groups
and has a mandate to develop tobacco-use prevention policies and
programs based on the CDC guidelines.
- Enact and enforce policies that require school facilities,
grounds, and events to be tobacco free.
- Communicate tobacco-use prevention policies to staff, students,
parents, and the community.
- Require tobacco-use prevention education for students in grades
- Encourage the establishment of tobacco cessation programs for
students and staff.
- Involve teachers and other staff, families, and community members
in key decisions about tobacco-use prevention programs.
- Hire teachers with training in preventing tobacco use and provide
ongoing training that focuses on teaching strategies for promoting
- Encourage activities to evaluate the effectiveness of programs to
prevent tobacco use.
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