NMSA has long recognized the imperative place health holds in the schooling of young adolescents. (This We Believe: Developmentally Responsive Middle Schools, NMSA, 1995) Living tobacco-free is an issue that has gained national attention in recent months.
What is clear is that children, responding to sophisticated media encouragement and product availability, are using deadly tobacco products sooner. We know the dangers and realities about tobacco:
- each year the tobacco industry will lose 420,000 of its best US customers to disease resulting from tobacco use.
- as Federal Drug Administration studies indicate, each day, 3,000 children begin using tobacco. Almost one third of them will die of a tobacco-related disease.
- the average age of tobacco use initiation is 14.
The actions of the tobacco industry coupled with promotional efforts targeted to the nation’s youth have resulted in a proposed rule by the US Food and Drug Administration to protect children from the hazards of tobacco. National Middle School Association supports the FDA proposed regulations which:
- limit access of minors to cigarettes and smokeless tobacco through restriction on sales by requiring retailers to verify the age of purchasers and to refuse the sale of tobacco products to persons under 18 years of age.
- reduce the appeal of tobacco by restricting advertising promotion, including restricting the types of tobacco ads that can be run in publications with a large youth readership, doing away with tobacco gifts, and banning outdoor advertising in areas where there is a large concentration of youth.
In order to reduce the use of tobacco by children, the Coordinating Committee to Prevent Tobacco Use by Youth has organized an effort called Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
- Please be advised that National Middle School Association, after careful review of materials and purpose, supports the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.
- Furthermore, NMSA encourages its members to be a voice of concern to speak for children influenced by billion dollar campaigns designed to increase tobacco profit.