Maine is one of three states leading the country when it comes to funding prevention programs to respond to these grim statistics. By spearheading programs for tobacco use and prevention, our efforts help counteract the millions of dollars spent on tobacco promotion in the state. Part of those efforts includes focusing on prevention where it counts: in the schools.
Youth should receive tobacco prevention messages from many different sources, and those messages must come from people they respect and want to imitate, including teachers, administrators, and coaches. Also, tobacco prevention messages must be reinforced each year – to every new teacher and to every new student – to keep tobacco-free awareness high and tobacco-free messages constant.
School health programs to prevent tobacco use could become one of the most effective national strategies to reduce the burden of physical, emotional, and monetary expense incurred by tobacco use. School-based programs offer an opportunity to prevent the initiation of tobacco and to eliminate addiction to nicotine and the subsequent difficulties of trying to quit. They can also contribute to preventing the use of illicit drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine.
The message to educators is clear: school-based programs designed to prevent tobacco use can make a substantial contribution to the health of the next generation.
PTM works with schools throughout Maine to prevent tobacco use among youth. PTM helps educators teach students health information, general life skills, and drug-resistance skills that include tobacco prevention. These programs can help youth lead happy, healthy lives while improving their chances of staying tobacco-free. Through programs that focus on teaching prevention in middle school, such as LifeSkills Training and “The Billionaire Vanishes”, educators can provide prevention messages when they are most effective.
PTM also encourages educators and school health coordinators to follow the recommended CDC guidelines as part of developing prevention programs. To be most effective, school health programs to prevent tobacco use must be carefully planned and systematically implemented, and PTM provides guidance and resources to help educators meet those guidelines.
These guidelines summarize school-based strategies most likely to be effective in preventing tobacco use among youth. They were developed by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with experts from 29 national, federal, and voluntary agencies, and with other leading authorities in the field of tobacco-use prevention, to help school personnel implement effective tobacco-use prevention programs. They are based on an in-depth review of research, theory, and current practice in the area of school-based tobacco-use prevention.
Programs should enable and encourage children and adolescents who have not experimented with tobacco to continue to abstain from any use, enable and encourage quitting for those who are tobacco users, and help users who are unable to quit seek additional assistance to be successful.
The guidelines recommend that all schools: