Updated Fri, Dec 20, 2013 9:21 am
The Trimble Board of Education recently adopted a new 100 percent tobacco-free school policy, based on the guidelines established by the Ohio Department of Health Tobacco Use & Prevention program.
Alexander Local and Federal Hocking Local Schools are the other districts in Athens County that have adopted the policy, states a news release.
The new policy prohibits all tobacco use (including e-cigarettes) by everyone, including students, staff and visitors in all school facilities and buildings; on school grounds, athletic grounds and parking lots; at all school-sponsored events off campus; at all times (24/7). The policy contains an enforcement provision and prohibits possession of tobacco products and tobacco paraphernalia by students.
About 30 percent of high school students are current tobacco users, according to ODH. In 2010, 50.5 percent of high school students and 26.8 percent of middle school students reported using some form of tobacco product in their lifetime. The Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids reports that about 16,900 children under the age of 18 become new daily smokers each year in Ohio. That said, tobacco use by students is steadily decreasing.
Nicotine affects adolescent smokers much differently than adult smokers, states a news release from the Athens City-County Health Department. First, the hippocampus or “memory center” of the teenage brain is mostly affected by nicotine. This results in irreversible brain cell damage and loss. Second, teen smokers experience more episodes of depression and cardiac irregularities from nicotine than adults. Finally, youth addiction to nicotine is more likely and occurs more quickly than with adults.
For more information about Tobacco Free Schools or tobacco cessation materials, contact Kim Knapp-Browne with the Athens City-County Health Department at (740) 592-4431 ext. 227.
This article contributed by the Athens Messenger