The tobacco-free school policy applies to all school system property, including BCS vehicles. The policy also includes all school-sponsored events, both on and off-campus. Students, staff and visitors are encouraged to comply with this policy.
Megan Hauser, youth tobacco prevention specialist for Beaufort, Martin, Tyrrell and Washington Counties, shares ”there are many reasons for tobacco free schools. A tobacco-free campus is cleaner and healthier. A tobacco-free policy also encourages adults to set a good example for youth. Students attending tobacco-free schools are less likely to use tobacco products.”
Teens in Beaufort County support tobacco-free schools. A Tobacco.Reality.Unfiltered. (TRU) Club is in place at Southside High School. TRU is the statewide movement for teen tobacco use prevention.
One way to encourage policy compliance is by promoting tobacco cessation. QuitlineNC is a free tobacco cessation service. It is available from 8 a.m.-3 a.m., seven days a week. QuitlineNC is available to all age groups and in multiple languages.
The TRU initiative, which has successfully reduced teen smoking in North Carolina to historic lows, may disappear after June, 2012. Since 2003, funding for the award-winning program and media campaign has been provided by NC’s portion of the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, as approved by the General Assembly. The program’s future is uncertain after this funding year. Without funding, progress in reducing teen smoking in North Carolina will likely stall and smoking rates will eventually begin to climb to previous levels. Only consistent, ongoing funding and programming will make NC kids and teens safer from the influences that encourage them to use tobacco.