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ToSS- Tobacco School Sensitization Program:

Introduction

Schools are in a uniquely powerful position to play a major role in reducing the serious problem of smoking and other tobacco use by kids. Children spend almost a third of their waking time in school, or about 135 hours per month; and much of the peer pressure kids feel regarding whether or not to use 12 tobacco occurs in school. Nearly 90 percent of adult smokers begin smoking at or before age 18.

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug; and adolescents, who are still going through critical periods of growth and development, are particularly vulnerable to its effect. Symptoms of serious addiction, which can lead to years of tobacco use and dependence, can appear within weeks or even days after occasional Smoking begins.

Smoking and other tobacco use causes numerous immediate, sometimes irreversible, health effects and risks that can seriously damage kids’ health well before they leave school or reach adulthood.

Because of the addictive power of nicotine, about three out of four teen smokers ends up smoking into adulthood, even if they intended to quit after few years. Smoking may also be a “gateway” to illegal drug use. Studies show that nicotine addiction often precedes the use of other drugs and is a risk factor for future use of drugs and alcohol.

The Role of Schools in Reducing Youth Smoking and Other Tobacco Use

For schools to effectively prevent and reduce youth tobacco use among their students, they must create an environment that encourages anti-tobacco beliefs and behaviours.

  • Forbid tobacco use by students, staff and visitors on all school grounds and at all school- sponsored events
  • Provide comprehensive tobacco prevention education
  • Provide program-specific training for teachers
  • Involve parents and families in school efforts to prevent tobacco use
  • Offer interactive tobacco-free projects for students.
  • Help tobacco-using students and staff quit.
  • Evaluate the school’s tobacco-free programs at regular intervals
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