It is anticipated that 103,000 kids currently under 18 in South Carolina will ultimately die prematurely from smoking. Statistics gathered in 2011 show that statewide:
- 23.7 percent of all high school students smoke cigarettes
- 33 percent of high school students and 14 percent of middle school students currently use some form of tobacco
- 5,900 kids under age 18 become new daily smokers each year.
These rates have dramatically decreased from a high of 36.6 percent of high school students smoking in 1999, but unfortunately, statistics show that children in our state are starting to try smoking at younger ages. (For instance, in 2007, 8.7 percent of S.C. middle school students smoked – a number that was above the national average even then.)
The following initiatives are just a few examples of ways DHEC is working with schools to discourage kids from smoking and using tobacco.
We encourage schools to implement and incorporate evidence-based curricula into their school health classes to prevent tobacco use and addiction. We can suggest many research-based curriculums, and your school can choose the one that best fits your students’ needs. For information, please call (803) 545-4467.
Programs currently approved by DHEC’s Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control:
- Alternative to Suspension(“Alternative”) — American Lung Association This program was designed specifically for students who violate local laws or school district policy prohibiting smoking for youth under age 18. It is recommended that judges utilize this program first when seeking an alternative to fine payment. However, youth should only be allowed to participate in this program one time.
- Life Skills — Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin
- Project Towards No Tobacco Use (TNT) — Dr. Steve Sussman
- Tobacco Awareness Program/Tobacco Education Group (TAP/TEG) — Community Intervention
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