Empowering teachers to implement tobacco free school campaigns in schools
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Preventive Health and Nutrition, Salaam Bombay Foundation, Bombay, India
Salaam Bombay Foundation, Bombay, India
Publication date: 2019-10-12
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2019;17(Suppl 1):A92
Children in India are vulnerable to tobacco use due to lack of awareness and easy access to tobacco products in the surroundings. During schooling years, teachers have significant influence on children's behaviour. Involving teachers to implement tobacco control program would be an effective tool to create anti-tobacco awareness and reduce tobacco use among children. Salaam Bombay Foundation (SBF) in collaboration with education departments of Mumbai West, Mumbai North, Thane and Pune introduced tobacco free school campaign in all government and aided schools in these cities.

Mumbai, Thane and Pune have the largest of 26 municipal corporations in Maharashtra. The corporation have education department headed by education officers (EOs) and Mumbai is divided into South, West and North zones with one education officer per zone. The campaign started with sensitization meetings with concerned education officers. Sensitized EOs announced 'Tobacco Free School Campaign' by sending notices to schools under their jurisdiction and called for principals' meetings. The principals were sensitized in ward-wise meetings in the presence of EOs who instructed them to identify nodal teacher to lead the tobacco free school campaign. Nodal teachers were trained by SBF team through ward-wise training to implement tobacco control workshops, activities and implement 8 tobacco free school (TFS) criteria.

In three cities 303 nodal teachers conducted tobacco control workshops with 49,478 children. 109 schools formed Balpanchayats at schools to implement tobacco control activities. More than 1,500 Children participated in tobacco control activities like poster drawing, songs, drama performances, oath, rallies etc. 80 Schools achieved tobacco free status by fulfilling 8 'Tobacco Free School Criteria'.

Success of tobacco free school campaign in terms of outreach through tobacco control workshops and awareness activities is a strong evidence to advocate for 'National Level Tobacco Free School' policy.

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