The last day in March 2010 proved special for Penns Grove High School. The school was recognized as a School of Excellence for implementing a 100 percent, tobacco-free policy by three leading anti-tobacco organizations.
The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), along with two of its programs, the Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) and the Reaching Everyone By Exposing Lies (REBEL) Program acknowledged the high school for its dedication to anti-tobacco policies.
“CTCP would like to acknowledge Penns Grove High School as one of the first campuses in the state of New Jersey to have taken on this initiative and achieved this status,” said DHSS Assistant Commissioner Celeste Andriot Wood in a letter to the school.
According to Woods, Penns Grove’s 100 percent tobacco-free environment will guarantee wellness protection for students, staff and visitors.
The commitments the school has taken-on to become tobacco-free focus on rehabilitation and support for any in-house tobacco users – students or staff.
Through CTCP, the school will direct opportunities to tobacco users, including counseling and cessation support, and tobacco prevention programs.
And those who want to ignore the anti-tobacco movement may find difficulty doing so. Tobacco-free signs will be displayed around the school – both inside and outside – as a constant reminder of the tobacco-free environment.
Because of their hard work, CTCP and REBEL will provide Penns Grove High School will all signage – they’ll even be given an official School of Excellence Banner it can hang to remember and celebrate its arrival as a tobacco-free institution.
According to DHSS website, its REBEL program is youth-centered and completely youth-led. Their goal is to reduce smoking and tobacco use among youth groups ages 18 and under. REBEL currently has chapters in each of New Jersey’s 21 counties.
CTCP, the main branch of DHSS anti-tobacco movement, keeps five main goals in mind at all times. CTCP aims to reduce four things – tobacco acceptance in youth, the number of minors and young adults who start smoking, the exposure to smoke, and the spread of various untruths about tobacco’s effects.
The single goal that CTCP aims to increase is the number of people who seek out treatment for their addictions to nicotine.
And since DHSS website statistics indicate a high occurrence of tobacco use in minors, Penns Grove High School’s contribution to ending tobacco use in young people is key.
Especially since DHSS reports show while most every high school in the state confirm the existence of on-campus tobacco-use policies, less than one-half of those schools couldn’t confirm the existence of a 100 percent tobacco-free policy.
And the positive influence Penns Grove High School has created isn’t only noticed by DHSS, CTCP and REBEL. CTCP’s sponsors are nationally-recognized organizations, including the American Heart Association, American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society, among others.
“I offer my personal congratulations on achieving the Comprehensive Tobacco-Free School Policy as well as the School Policy of Excellence,” said DHSS Commissioner Wood, of the high school’s status.
According to Wood, the Comprehensive Tobacco-Free School Policy initiative is an important part of maintaining the school’s public health and wellness.
“The dedication and commitment to earn this status is well-worth the recognition,” said Wood.
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