Health Committee Asking for Tobacco-Free Pasco Schools


When a worker of Pasco County school, which was opened before July 1996, wants to smoke a cigarette, he must step outside in area specially designated for that.  Health Advisory Committee of the district wants to stop that policy. Thus health care professionals of the community have called on the School Board to change such policy to permit older schools to avoid the tobacco-free designation that new campuses operate under.

The committee says about the necessity to provide a good example for young people and school workers must maintain positive adult role models for students. Besides this, it is necessary to protect students from secondhand smoke at any level.

These anti-smoking messages are not new. In August 2011 there was held a seminar on this subject. Also Students Working Against Tobacco explained their opinion in June current year. Student Andrew Gonzalez said the board that students want schools to be 100% free of tobacco and smokers should go off campus. Ideally, if a teacher smokes, the school must help him quit.

The agreements say, that a pre-1996 school can become 100% free of tobacco only with the unanimous vote of its workers. There is no record in the district of any requested votes in the 17 years since the rule came into action.

The employee relations director Betsy Kuhn said that the chance to change the smoking policy generally is good, because it really needs a change. Several districts have prohibited tobacco consumption among school workers.

Some districts, such as Pasco, have even tried to stop hiring people who smoke cigarettes.  The concept was dropped in Pasco after finding it unworkable in its food and nutrition department.

Kuhn said that Pasco’s advisory committee provided a number of reasons to take into consideration when discussing a new direction for tobacco-free workplaces.  These are not just public places. These are schools and they must go 100% tobacco-free in order to prevent students from using all kinds of tobacco.

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