Tobacco Free Schools
While smoking is banned inside school buildings, not all school districts in Florida have comprehensive policies that restrict smoking and the use of other tobacco products on all of their properties or at their events. Comprehensive tobacco free school policies are an important step in building a healthier future. These policies create a safe and healthy environment for students, faculty, and staff, while sending a clear message that tobacco use is dangerous and that it’s not a socially acceptable behavior. Tobacco free schools also reduce exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) and encourage tobacco users to consume less of these addictive products — and to possibly quit.
Schools that are not tobacco free send conflicting messages to students about the dangers of tobacco use and the health effects of SHS. It’s important to continue teaching Florida’s youth about socially responsible and healthy behaviors, including not using tobacco. Teaching by example is the first step in doing so.
Preventing youth from using tobacco is imperative in combating the tobacco epidemic, especially since nine out of 10 smokers start by age 18. 1 De-normalizing tobacco use through positive role modeling is one important step. If students don’t see adults at their schools using tobacco, then they’ll be less likely to think tobacco is acceptable and will be less likely to ever start. We can help keep young people tobacco free by creating a world where seeing people smoke or use other tobacco products is the exception, not the norm. 2
Help Create Tobacco Free Schools in Florida
See which school districts have gone tobacco free and learn how you can get involved.
- Every day, an estimated 1,315 people in the United States die because of smoking. For each of those deaths, at least two youth or young adults become regular smokers each day. 3
- Of every three young smokers, only one will quit, and one of those remaining smokers will die from tobacco-related causes.
- Young people rarely consider the long-term health consequences associated with tobacco use when they start.
- Because of nicotine, a highly addictive drug, three out of four youth continue using tobacco well into adulthood, often with serious and even deadly consequences.
- Adolescents’ bodies are more sensitive to nicotine, and adolescents are more easily addicted than adults. 4
- If current smoking rates continue, 5.6 million U.S. children alive today who are younger than 18 years of age will die prematurely as a result of smoking. 5
- Smoking remains the leading preventable cause of premature disease and death in the U.S.
- Tobacco has killed more than 20 million people prematurely since the first Surgeon General’s report in 1964.
- Secondhand smoke (SHS) is also a serious problem. It contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and at least 80 known to cause cancer. 6
- Breathing SHS increases a child’s risk of lung problems, ear infections, and severe asthma.
- SHS can trigger an asthma attack. A severe asthma attack can put a child’s life in danger. 7
- There is no risk-free level of exposure to SHS. Breathing even a little SHS can be dangerous. 8
- Since 1964, 2.5 million nonsmokers in the U.S. have died because of SHS exposure. 9
- Each year, exposure to SHS causes nearly 50,000 premature deaths among U.S. nonsmokers. 10 11 12