Tobacco-Free School Districts
The LDH Office of Public Health houses the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program, which offers services to help people quit using tobacco products. The program developed the Tobacco-Free School Policy in 2007, encouraging public school districts throughout the state to prohibit the use of tobacco products at any time on any of their districts' campuses, including sporting events, dances or other events on school property.
While State laws prohibit anyone under age 18 from using or buying tobacco products, this policy goes a step further, preventing faculty, staff, volunteers, parents or any other adults on school property from using them.
So far, 46 of the State's 70 public school districts have enacted the policy. Do you know if your child's school is tobacco free? See the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program's list of schools that have banned the use of these products on campus. The Office of Public Health is reaching out to public school districts that haven't adopted the policy yet to encourage them to join the fight in preventing the deadly and unhealthy habit of tobacco use.
According to LDH's Youth Tobacco Survey, conducted through the Louisiana Tobacco Control Program, the use of tobacco products among middle school students decreased from 11 percent in 2009 to 6 percent in 2011, and smokeless tobacco use (e.g. chewing tobacco) among middle school students decreased from 8 percent to 5 percent.
The state's overall youth smoking prevalence among middle and high school students was 16 percent in 2009, compared to the national average of 12 percent.