The Gordon County School Board has joined other school systems in the region, that comply with the Centers for Disease Control’s 100 percent Tobacco-Free School Policy. Calhoun City Schools adopted the same policy in 2009, following Chattooga County and Floyd County schools. The adoption of the new policy underscores the opportunities schools have to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco products, which are known to be addictive and deadly. New signs will be placed at the school facilities promoting the campus grounds and buildings are 100 percent tobacco free.
The change is in an effort to educate students, staff, and visitors about the life threatening illnesses brought on by continued tobacco use.
Gena Agnew with the Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition (NWGRCC) said, “lung cancer is the leading cause of death in our country today, and the rates of incidence and mortality are higher in our region than in the rest of the state.”
According to Northwest Georgia Public Health’s Dr. Wade Sellers, “drugs and alcohol have been banned from schools, but somehow, nicotine, the most addictive substance on earth, manages to find a blind eye turned to its use among our youth. Chewing tobacco is condoned for our young athletes with no regard to mouth and throat cancer, not to mention gum disease and tooth loss.”
There are several resources available for someone who wants to quit smoking. The Georgia Tobacco Quit Line at 1-877-270-STOP offers free counseling, a resource library and support-and-referral services for anyone over 13 years of age. The American Lung Association, the American Cancer Society and many healthcare facilities and public health departments offer smoking-cessation classes, as well as Gordon Hospital.