Thousands of kids start smoking every year, and many of them will die prematurely from tobacco addiction. Maine is one of three states leading the country when it comes to funding prevention programs to respond to these grim statistics. Maine is spearheading programs for tobacco use and prevention that help combat the millions of dollars spent on tobacco promotion in the state. Part of that effort includes focusing on prevention where it counts: in the schools.
Available from the Partnership For A Tobacco-free Maine (PTM) to Maine middle schools, the LifeSkills Training program was established to teach students a combination of health information, general life skills, and drug-resistance skills, including tobacco prevention, that will help them lead happy, healthy, successful lives. When implemented in the recommended time frame, the program has been shown to reduce tobacco use by students up to 60%. Find out more about the LifeSkills Training program
The Real Talk About Smoking video features youth smokers as they describe what it feels like to be a smoker. Intended for a high school audience the video is accompanied by a discussion guide to assist teachers with facilitating an open dialog with the students. The real life, peer-to-peer approach of the video allows students to better relate to the youth smokers. Coupled with the in-classroom discussion it is hoped that this will address concerns and pressures that the students are facing. Find out more about Real Talk About Smoking.
PTM’s School Policy Initiative helps Maine schools create and maintain 100% tobacco-free campuses. This Initiative takes an important step toward raising awareness about secondhand smoke and helps to provide tobacco-free model environments for school districts and communities. Schools become “Star Schools” when they meet PTM criteria for being tobacco free. Whether you are a school administrator, parent, or community leader, you can find out more about developing tobacco-free policies in your school or download Creating and Maintaining a Tobacco-Free School Policy.
Maine has been recognized for its leadership in protecting its children from the adverse effects of tobacco. Efforts to protect Maine youth against tobacco use and secondhand smoke include enforcing laws about youth smoking in schools.
Laws about smoking in Maine schools are clear: Tobacco use in elementary and secondary schools is prohibited. School employees are prohibited from tobacco use in school buildings or on school grounds, with few exceptions, and school employee smoking areas must be located away from areas frequented by students. Read the public elementary and secondary schools statutes.
Get involved in prevention in the schools. Teachers can make tobacco-use prevention part of the curriculum. You don’t have to be a health or physical education teacher to implement the above curricula. Tobacco prevention is an ideal topic for many different subjects! Find information and resources about our school initiatives and programs by viewing our Educators page.