100% TFS Toolkit – Answer Your Critics
Argument 1: My local school district already prohibits tobacco use inside
buildings - that goes far enough.
Exposure to secondhand smoke on school grounds - even a small amount - can be
dangerous. As little as 30 minutes of exposure can affect coronary arteries in
healthy non-smokers. Avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke reduces rates of
asthma, a leading cause of illness and absenteeism in students.
Allowing tobacco use on school grounds sends a contradictory message to
students when they learn about the harmful effects of tobacco use in classes,
only to see role models such as teachers using tobacco on school grounds.
A 100% TFS policy prepares students for the ever-increasing number of
tobacco-free environments like workplaces, malls, restaurants and airplanes,
Argument 2: Not only will this make it tougher to recruit teachers and staff,
some of the staff we have will leave.
- Personnel at the school districts that have adopted a
100% TFS policy say teacher attrition is not an
issue. In fact, many administrators in tobacco-free school
districts say job applicants prefer a tobacco-free work
environment and view this policy as an asset.
Argument 3: Adults won't come to our athletic events if we adopt this policy.
- There is no evidence to support this claim. In fact,
some school districts report just the opposite effect, gaining
more attendees who are encouraged by tobacco-free
Administrators in school districts that have adopted a 100% TFS policy have
noted that the vast majority of adults have willingly complied with the
tobacco-free school policy during athletic events. They understand and
appreciate that school policies, like the ones prohibiting tobacco use and
alcohol use on campus, are designed to protect youth and offer a positive
environment for students and families.
It's becoming common for people to expect an event or a facility to be
tobacco-free as we have become more aware of the health risks of secondhand
smoke. Malls, movie theaters, restaurants and air travel have become
smoke-free, and they haven't seen any decline in patronage whatsoever.
The school policy does not require folks to quit using tobacco; it simply asks
them to refrain from tobacco use on school property and at school-sponsored
Argument 4: It will be impossible to get people to comply with the policy.
People will comply with the policy if they know it exists. Early and frequent
communication - such as signage, letters home, information in event programs,
and announcements during outdoor athletic events - is the key to insuring
compliance with the policy.
Argument 5: There's no way to get contractors, construction crews and
maintenance to comply with the policy.
- Insuring compliance with a 100% TFS policy is no different
than insuring compliance with other policies, such as those
prohibiting the use of alcohol or firearms on campus.
- It's essential to clearly communicate the policy to firms
and companies that contract with the schools by adding compliance
language into the school contract, informing them of the
policy during the interview process and having adequate
signage at the school to remind them of the policy.
Argument 6: Some employers, including hospitals and government offices, have
designated areas for adult tobacco users. Why should school policies be
Schools are a primary place where our children develop many lifelong behaviors
- how to smoke should not be one of them. 100% tobacco-free schools provide the
best learning and social environment for students, and a healthier work
environment for staff.
- Allowing tobacco use on school campuses is inconsistent
with the tobacco use prevention messages taught in the classroom
because students can see adult role models engaging in an
unhealthy habit. This sets a bad example and exposes students
and other staff members to secondhand smoke.
Hospitals and government offices across North Carolina are actually adopting
100% tobacco-free policies at a rapid pace.
Argument 7: Prohibiting tobacco use on school campuses will hurt the local
Changes in North Carolina's tobacco industry are the result of complex market
forces, not policies prohibiting tobacco use in our children's schools.
Adults may still choose to use tobacco products, just not on school property or
at school-sponsored events.
- A decline in tobacco use prevalence will actually help
the economy by saving North Carolina millions of dollars
in taxpayer-funded health-care costs.
Argument 8: It's legal for adults to use tobacco, so it shouldn't be prohibited
on school property.
Schools have the authority to develop, adopt and implement policies that are in
the best interest of the students and staff.
It is legal for adults to use other age-restricted products, such as alcohol.
However, allowing adults to use these products on campus is not in the best
interest of students. Therefore, these products are banned on school campuses.
- Tobacco is a legal product for adults to purchase and
use, but a tobacco-free school policy restricts its use
on school campus and at school events only.