School-based Settings

School-based interventions can help students, parents, teachers, and administrators become tobacco-free by providing programs, policies, and environments that support healthy lifestyles. Schools are also useful resources for preventing or decreasing tobacco use in the broader community (e.g., educating parents and community members).

Previous work in school-based settings has found:

  • Many schools communicate regularly with students, teachers, and parents (e.g., parent newsletters, Channel One programming, student newspapers, daily announcements), which can easily be used to encourage tobacco-free lifestyles.
  • Schools may be well-suited for tobacco prevention education programs because they assess and store information on individuals (e.g., students, employees) and communication systems for these individuals are already in place. These settings make it easy to distribute individually tailored information to participants.
  • School-based interventions can often be a more appropriate learning environment for children and adolescents than a medical setting.
  • Tobacco related education sessions implemented in schools have the capacity to reach a population that might not otherwise have access to clinical services.
  • School children represent a captive audience that is eager to learn new ideas. Providing tobacco education in schools during the developmental years will reach students when they are beginning to make their own lifestyle choices.
  • Success and ownership are maintained when schools develop their own implementation plan, work out problems, have broad involvement among teachers and staff and other staff, and reach their own solutions.
  • Teachers can be effectively used in rural health education campaigns to implement sound health practices among children. Coordinated efforts need to be made between school personnel and health educators.
  • Many schools already have health education classes therefore making this an easy setting in which to implement group education for tobacco use.

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