CHICAGO--At its 2009 annual governance meeting, the American Dental Association House of Delegates adopted a resolution supporting tobacco-free school laws and policies to prevent tobacco use and addiction in children.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a tobacco-free school can help prevent and reduce tobacco use in youth and help them avoid tobacco-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Each year, an estimated 438,000 people in the U.S. die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke and another 8.6 million have a serious illness caused by smoking, according to the CDC.
If current smoking patterns persist in the U.S., approximately 5 million people younger than 18 years old will die prematurely of tobacco-related diseases.
ADA delegates voted to support laws or policies that incorporate the "Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevention Tobacco Use and Addiction" developed by the CDC in collaboration with tobacco-use prevention experts across the country.
The guidelines include tobacco-use prevention and education in kindergarten through 12th grade and support for tobacco-use cessation efforts among students and school staff.
The ADA encourages its members and state dental societies to collaborate with students, parents, school officials and members of their communities to establish tobacco-free schools.
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