An Overview of Tobacco Policies in Kansas Unified School Districts
Introduction. In 2019, 25.8% of Kansas high school youth reported using any form of tobacco product. Schools can prevent and reduce youth tobacco use by adopting comprehensive tobacco policies, which include all tobacco products, on school grounds and at school-sponsored, off-campus events, for all individuals at all times, and integrate cessation services for students who violate the tobacco policy. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of comprehensive tobacco policies in unified school districts (USD) across Kansas to determine how many schools have adopted such policies.
Methods. All 286 USDs in Kansas were eligible to participate in this study; this includes elementary, middle, and high schools. Participating schools were asked to upload their policies to a website developed by Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). Frequencies and percentages were computed to identify the type of tobacco products prohibited, the locations where tobacco use is prohibited, who is prohibited from using tobacco, when tobacco is prohibited, and consequences of students’ violation of tobacco policy.
Results. Several USD policies meet some of these recommendations; however, 97.9% (n = 280) do not. In other words, 2.1% of USD policies (n = 6) are comprehensive in Kansas.
Conclusions. Nearly all USDs in Kansas have an opportunity to strengthen their tobacco policies. Relatively simple edits can be made to prohibit all tobacco products, prohibit use on school grounds and at school-sponsored, off-campus events, ensure these policies apply to everyone, at all times, and integrate cessation resources for students who violate the tobacco policy.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Riley Hazard, MPH, Shannon Lines, MPH, Kelsey Lu, M.S., Elizabeth Ablah, Ph.D., MPH
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