K-12 Schools

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What Happens after the Tobacco-free School Policy is Adopted?

  • Celebrate the adoption of the policy through school websites, newsletters, and banners. Publicly thank the school board for adopting the 100% Tobacco-free School Policy.
  •  Set an implementation date of at least 4-6 weeks after the policy is adopted to allow time for planning enforcement and communication strategies.1 Involve all sectors of the school community in planning for implementation. Be sure to take adequate time for implementation planning.
  • As the implementation date approaches, post notices about the policy at all entrances to school buildings, school grounds, parking lots, athletic facilities, and in school/activity buses.2 If this is not feasible, post information on the school’s website and/or hang a banner in the main office.
  • Create scripts and train staff, students, and community volunteers to politely ask everyone including visitors and vendors to respect the school policy.2
  • Develop and diligently implement an enforcement plan to set a strong precedent for compliance.1 Enlist the help of community law enforcement and/or school resource officers to assist with implementation.1

How Can the Policy Be Implemented Effectively?

Communicating with Students

  • Announce the tobacco-free policy to students via multiple channels (i.e, assembly programs, electronic media, student newspaper, and/or a series of daily announcements.2
  • Provide students an opportunity to design posters or media campaigns to announce the policy to the school and community.2
  • Use educational programs as alternatives to suspension for student violators;2 and offer cessation programs or brief interventions with referral to local cessation resources.

Communicating with Parents

  • Provide policy information at parent orientation meetings at the beginning of the school year.2 Send a letter to parents describing the policy change and consequences of violation.2
  • Invite students to deliver announcements of the new policy to parents at athletic events, meetings, concerts, and plays.2

Communicating with Faculty/Staff

  • Discuss the policy at staff/faculty meetings and new staff/faculty orientations.2
  • Tell staff about access to tobacco treatment support programs and provide free nicotine replacement products (i.e., nicotine patches) if possible.2
  • Involve respected and well-liked school personnel in sharing messages with staff groups.2

Communicating with the Community

  • Place a print ad thanking the school board for their decision to adopt a 100% tobacco-free policy.2 Remove all cigarette butt receptacles from school property, especially those outside entrances.2 Inform vendors and those who assist with school-sponsored activities about the policy.2

  1. North Carolina Department for Health and Human Services. Eight steps to policy change. 2010; https://www.nctobaccofreeschools.com/adopt/8steps.shtm#6. Accessed June 29, 2010.
  2. North Carolina Department for Health and Human Services. Checklist for Communicating a 100% Tobacco-free School Policy. 2010; https://www.nctobaccofreeschools.com/communicate/TFS-communication-checklist.pdf. Accessed June 29, 2010.