Comprehensive School Tobacco Policy

  • In May 2012, the Baker County School District updated its tobacco policy to provide a more comprehensive policy that outlines tobacco use and enforcement for students, visitors and employees. The school board’s rationale for the new policy is as follows: “It is the School Board’s responsibility to provide a safe and healthy learning environment free from exposure to known carcinogens, and one in which adults are role models for healthy behavior. The Board is acutely aware of the serious health risks associated with the use of tobacco products both to users and non-users, and that most tobacco use begins before the age of eighteen. Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in Florida. Comprehensive school policies to prevent tobacco use are an effective strategy in assisting to reduce tobacco use in the state. The Board recognizes that District personnel and school visitors also serve as role models to students and, therefore, adopts this 100 percent Tobacco Free School Policy to endorse a healthy lifestyle and prevent tobacco use.”

    The policy states “all uses of tobacco of any kind that may be developed that contains nicotine or tobacco or a combination of the two are prohibited on any property owned, leased, or contracted by the District including, but not limited to:  all schools, district offices, practice fields, playgrounds, football fields, baseball fields, softball fields, pool areas, soccer fields, tennis courts and all open areas at any time. All uses of tobacco are also prohibited from District-owned vehicles including, but not limited to:  school buses, vans, trucks, cars, etc. at any time.”

    It is unlawful for students under the age of 18 to be in possession of tobacco. Law enforcement officers are authorized to issue citations to those who violate the law. Students who receive a citation receive a fine or have to complete 16 hours of community service. In addition, violators are also required to attend a tobacco education course provided by the Baker County Health Department. The Department of Motor Vehicles will suspend the driver’s license or put a hold on the application for a future driver’s license if the student does not complete the community service or pay the tobacco citation fine and does not take the tobacco education class.

    Visitors who use tobacco products on school district property will be informed of the tobacco-free policy and will be asked to refrain from smoking or using tobacco products. If the visitor does not comply, the administrator of that area will take appropriate action.

    The Baker County Health Department offers free tobacco cessation classes to youth or adults who want to quit using tobacco. If you are interested, contact the health department for more information at 259-6291.