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Report: School Butts-Out Policies No Longer Limited to Students

March 31, 1989

ATLANTA (AP) _ Smoking bans in public schools are increasingly extending to faculty and staff as well as students, according to a government report that revealed 95 percent of school systems nationwide have formal smoking policies.

The national Centers for Disease Control, in conjunction with the National School Boards Association, reported Thursday that 24 percent of 1,310 public school systems responding to a 1988 survey prohibited faculty and staff from smoking in school buildings. That’s up from 11 percent two years earlier.

″It is particularly important that smoking policies are now directed at adults as well as students,″ said the Atlanta-based CDC, noting that some 3,000 Americans - mostly under 21 - take up smoking each day.

The survey also revealed the percentage of school systems with written policies or regulations regarding smoking rose 87 percent in 1986 to 95 percent in 1988.

″The findings ... are encouraging,″ the Atlanta-based health agency said, adding that ″smoking bans in schools accomplish several goals,″ including discouraging students from taking up the habit, reinforcing anti-smoking education and promoting smoke-free environments as the norm.

The survey, conducted by mail, also found that 17 percent of the systems responding banned smoking by anyone on school premises or at school functions.

The school districts’ survey, conducted with the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and the American Lung Association, also found that 69 percent of the systems with written smoking policies had adopted them in the previous six years, and 77 percent cited the health hazards of smoking as the reason why.

Most districts - 86 percent - reported excellent or good compliance with smoking policies by students; 87 percent reported similar cooperation by faculty.

In addition, the survey found anti-smoking educational programs at the elementary school level in 75 percent of districts surveyed last year, at the middle school level in 81 percent and at the high school level in 78 percent. Those numbers are up from 61 percent, 64 percent and 62 percent, respectively, two years ago.

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