Irwin County School System joined other school systems throughout the state of Georgia by implementing a Tobacco-Free School policy. Under the 100% Tobacco-Free School policy no student, staff member or school visitor is permitted to use any tobacco product or E-cigarette, at any time on school property.
“By implementing this policy, the school administrators have taken a stand to protect the county’s children and adults from the harmful effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke,” says Traci Gosier, health promotion coordinator. “The vast majority of Georgia’s smokers started using tobacco before the age of 18, and by eliminating tobacco use in schools, we can reduce the likelihood children will start to use tobacco.”
“We are excited about Irwin County Schools becoming a Tobacco Free School System. Our goal is to set high standards for healthy living for our students and staff,” stated Dr. Clayton, Superintendent and Dr. Mizell, Assistant Superintendent.
Tobacco use causes heart disease, cancer, diabetes and premature death. In a young person, smoking can damage the heart and lungs right away and in some cases, the damage never goes away. Studies show that eliminating tobacco smoke in an environment can reduce the incidence of heart attack related hospital admissions by between 10 and 40 percent.
“Young people are extremely sensitive to nicotine and the younger they are when they start using tobacco, the more likely they are to develop addiction to nicotine, and begin a lifetime of chronic disease,” said William Grow, M.D., FACP, director of South Health District. “That makes prevention in schools right now so critical.”
“Any other school or business in the area that is interested in implementing a policy can contact public health for more information,” says Gosier.
All Georgians, including students, 13 to 17 years old, can call the Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP (7867) or 1-877-2No-FUME (877-266-3863) and receive confidential counseling on how to quit smoking.
For more information about the harmful effects of smoking and tobacco use in young people, visit www.surgeongeneral.gov. To learn more about the Georgia Department of Public Health’s efforts to help schools become tobacco-free, visit http://dph.georgia.gov/tobacco-free-and-smoke-free-environments.