Glades County schools now 100 percent tobacco-free

Our community is one step closer to protecting our youth from a life-long addiction to tobacco.

Through the determined efforts of the Glades County School District, the Glades County Chapter of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) and the Glades Tobacco-Free Partnership (GTFP), schools in Glades County are tobacco free.

These passionate leaders are sending a message that tobacco use should not be seen as normal behavior. De-normalizing tobacco use through positive role modeling is extremely valuable and cannot be overlooked.

When students don’t see teachers, coaches, school faculty, parents and visitors using tobacco, they’ll be less likely to think tobacco is acceptable and less likely to start using the highly addictive products. We can keep young people tobacco free by creating a world where seeing people smoke or use other tobacco products is the exception, not the norm.

In the United States, nearly nine out of 10 smokers start by age 18. In Florida, more than 18,900 kids (under 18) become new cigarette smokers each year. Data from the 2014 Florida Youth Tobacco Survey (FYTS) reflect that more than 13 percent of Glades County youth under the age of 18 reported current tobacco use.

Tobacco use initiation often leads to a lifetime of addiction, resulting in devastating diseases, and early death. In fact, one of three youth who continue to smoke will die early because of smoking. And that figure doesn’t even take smokeless tobacco into account.

That’s why the new policies were so necessary. The new policy prohibits tobacco use by students, staff, parents and visitors on school grounds or at any facility owned, leased or contracted for by the school board; in buses or any other vehicles owned or operated by the school board; and at all school-sponsored events, on or off school property.

The policy further prohibits clothing or use of other items that advertise or promote tobacco products. Tobacco advertising and acceptance of gifts, including curriculum, from tobacco companies is also prohibited.

Cessation support programs for students and staff are also outlined in the new policy. Implementation of a comprehensive tobacco-free school policy represents a firm commitment by school administration, teachers and parents to prohibit tobacco use; it further sends a stronger prevention message to young people and our community.

The Glades County Chapter of Students Working Against Tobacco (SWAT) and Glades Tobacco-Free Partnership (GTFP) commends Glades County School Board members for protecting our kids from tobacco’s influence.

They are worth the investment. They are our future.

Glades County is one of 39 school districts in Florida that have passed all 12 components and is 100 percent tobacco free.

More than 80 percent of all schools in Florida have passed 10 or more. All 67 districts have passed at least some of the components and are still working to catch up.

For more information about Glades County tobacco prevention, please visit tobaccofreeflorida.com/county/glades.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment