December 7, 2022 -- The Columbus City Schools Board of Education, during its meeting Tuesday evening, adopted a resolution in support of the Coalition to End Tobacco Targeting’s initiative to end the sale of flavored tobacco to protect the well-being of all students.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has classified youth e-cigarette use as an epidemic that has reversed decades of effective effort to persuade kids to reject tobacco. Flavors such as bubblegum, cherry dynamite and popcorn as well as slick social media marketing have enticed half of high school kids to try vaping, and a third of them to use regularly.
More than one million middle and high school students are frequent e-cigarette users, including 700,000 daily users; and 81% of youth who have ever used a tobacco product initiated tobacco use with a flavored product.
What’s more, in the 1960s, the tobacco industry began a well-documented, decades-long campaign to market menthol cigarettes to the Black community through targeted advertising, lower prices in Black neighborhoods, and free product samples at Black community events.
As a result, the percentage of Black smokers using menthol has increased from 10% in the 1950s to 85% today. Meanwhile, tobacco claims approximately 45,000 Black lives each year, making it the leading cause of preventable death in the Black community.
Recognizing the importance of protecting all students and ensuring positive, safe learning environments, the CCS Board of Education issued the following statement:
“Columbus City Schools’ mission is that each student is highly educated, prepared for leadership and service, and empowered for success as a citizen in a global community.
The north star for the District is the Portrait of a Graduate, which encompasses six attributes that we envision for every CCS student to embody: Adaptability, Communication, Creativity, Critical Thinking, Global Empathy, and Technology.
We believe that to fulfill the Portrait of a Graduate the District must address the well-being of the whole child, including the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual aspects; and the health and wellness of our students is a top priority.
An addiction to nicotine impacts physical and mental health of students, causing a decrease in educational outcomes. These students are more likely to experience reduced instructional time due to absenteeism and earn lower grades.
Ending the sale of flavored tobacco, including menthol cigarettes, would sharply reduce the number of young people who get addicted to nicotine and would break one of the systemic practices that places barriers on our students.
As a public school district, it is our responsibility to encourage healthy lifestyles that provide our students with the greatest opportunity for personal and academic success.
We will continue to fight for our students and we ask all other educational institutions, government bodies, students, families, non-profits, businesses, and the community to take a stand with us against the sale of flavored tobacco, to protect the well-being of all students.”