Why We Need 100% Tobacco-Free Schools
A 100% Tobacco-Free School prohibits all tobacco use anytime,
anywhere by anyone on all school property and at all school-sponsored events.
School property includes buildings, grounds and vehicles owned or leased by the
school. School-sponsored events include sporting events, school dances and
other events held on and off school property.
The goal of the NC Health and
Wellness Trust Fund (HWTF) 100% TFS statewide campaign, including this
website, is to protect our children's health by encouraging all 115 school
districts in North Carolina to adopt a model 100%
A 100% TFS policy protects children's health and ensures that students
encounter positive role models at school. A 2003 study revealed that North
Carolina youth use tobacco at a significantly higher rate than the national
average. Preventing students from using and seeing others use tobacco at school
could help reduce those statistics. Plus, there is good data to show that North
Carolinians want 100% TFS. A 2005 phone survey showed an overwhelming majority
of North Carolina parents support the idea of 100% TFS.
The 100% TFS campaign has made rapid progress in achieving
its goal of having all North Carolina school districts become
tobacco-free, but we need help from parents, community members
and school staff to finish the task. North Carolina is not alone
in this initiative. Almost half of all schools in the country
are tobacco-free, and other states are passing similar policies
to ensure the health of all children. Click the links below
to learn more about why we need 100% Tobacco-Free Schools.
Teens and Tobacco Use Prevalence in North Carolina
In 2003, North Carolina completed its largest survey ever on teen tobacco use.
The results from the survey were also part of the National Youth Tobacco
Survey, a national evaluation tool coordinated by the US Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention in 29 states every two years.
The NC Youth Tobacco Survey* (NCYTS) found that more North Carolina teens,
especially those in high school, are using tobacco than previously thought.
North Carolina youth are also using tobacco at either about the same or higher
rates than the national average. For instance, more North Carolina high school
students smoke and use smokeless tobacco at higher rates than in the United
States as a whole. Middle-schoolers in NC use spit tobacco at a higher rate
than their peers nationally and smoke at almost the same rate. For full data on
tobacco use in North Carolina and the U.S., see the table below. The 2005
NCYTS, sponsored by the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund and conducted by the
North Carolina Tobacco Prevention & Control Branch, will be completed in
Tobacco Use Rates Among Students
||% who ever tried a tobacco product
||% current smokers ¤
||current user of smokeless tobacco ¤
||% current smokers who want to quit
(¤ defined as using tobacco one or more times in the past 30 days.)
Sources: North Carolina data comes from the North Carolina Youth Tobacco Survey, 2003.
National data comes from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Tobacco Use, Access, and Exposure to Tobacco in Media Among Middle and High
School Students; United States, 2004)
Data from the National YTS showed that tobacco use among middle and high school
students did not decrease significantly between 2002 and 2004. These results
are a great incentive for promoting programs like 100% TFS that encourage
students to stop smoking or better yet, keep them from ever starting.
Other Prevalence Information:
Almost half (47.6 percent) of North Carolina high school students live in homes
where others smoke. Exposure to secondhand smoke during childhood and
adolescence can cause new cases of asthma, make existing asthma worse and lead
to increased risk of lung cancer.
About 4,000 American youth ages 12-17 try their first cigarette every day.
However, progress is being made. The 2003 NCYTS survey also found:
Fewer middle school and high school students tried cigarettes in 2003 than in
2001 or 1999.
- Four out of five middle school students and two thirds
of high school students feel it is important for their school
to be 100% tobacco-free.
*2003 NCYTS survey data is based on answers provided by 6,334 middle and high
school students from 200 randomly selected schools in North Carolina. For more
detailed information about the 2003 NCYTS survey, click here.
High public support for 100% TFS
Changing tobacco use policy might be intimidating in a tobacco-producing state,
but research shows an overwhelming majority of people in North Carolina, even
smokers, support 100% Tobacco-Free Schools.
96.6% of parents support 100% Tobacco-Free Schools, according to a statewide
conducted in 2005
98% of parents in the same survey supported additional actions to reduce
tobacco use by North Carolina youth.
UNC-Chapel Hill graduate students interviewed 632 spectators at football games
at 10 different 100% TFS schools to ask them what they thought about the
policy. Overall, 76% of interviewees said they supported 100% TFS, and 61.9% of
smokers said they either agreed or had no opinion about the policy.
For more information about implementing 100% TFS at football games,
- More than half of N.C. school districts are now tobacco-free
thanks to efforts of youth advocates like you.
Most policy adoptions have occurred since 2003, with sharp increases every
- Schools all across the country are going tobacco-free.
- 24.5% of states, 45.5% of districts and 44.6% of
schools are tobacco-free in the United States. For more
The following states have tobacco-free schools policies:
For more information about other states' policies click here.
Why Teachers and School Staff Should Support 100% Tobacco-Free Schools:
A tobacco-free environment creates a safe and healthful workplace.
Employees who are sensitive to smoke will not be exposed to it at work.
found that adolescents who saw their teachers smoking at school were more
likely to smoke themselves. A 100% TFS policy does not allow teachers to be a
negative influence on underage smokers.
A tobacco-free environment lowers the risk of fires on school grounds.
The 100% TFS adoption process includes referrals to classes on how to quit to
give teachers and staff who use tobacco the tools they need to quit.
A smoke-free policy reduces tobacco consumption for those who are users. A 1994 study
showed smokers who worked in a smoke-free environment reduced their intake by
one pack a week.
People who work in schools value the health and well-being of children, and
schools should be a safe place for children. Adopting a 100% TFS policy in
schools reduces children's risk of secondhand smoke exposure and the likelihood
that they will start using tobacco.