Rockwood School District Achieves “Gold Standard” Tobacco Policy
St. Louis Blues Player and Eureka High School Alumnus Offers Congratulations
(May 2, 2011) – This evening, a St. Louis Blues player will pay a visit to the Rockwood School District – and it won’t be pretty.
As part of the evening’s celebration for achieving the “Gold Standard” in school tobacco prevention policy, Cam Janssen, Blues right wing, will congratulate Rockwood School District students, teachers, and administrators in an event at his alma mater, Eureka High School. Janssen had his photo “tobacco-fied” to demonstrate the physical consequences of tobacco use.
“Our hockey season might be over, but we still have to face one of the toughest opponents in our community – tobacco,” said Janssen. “I’m looking forward to spending time talking to young people about what an important part they can play in local efforts to make the St. Louis community healthier and tobacco-free.”
Janssen is attending the event as part of the St. Louis Blues partnership with the Saint Louis County Department of Health’s Let’s Face It campaign.
Last fall, the health department’s Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program released a report prepared by the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Washington University that scored the tobacco policies then in place at the 23 public school districts in St. Louis County. The Rockwood district, which has approximately 22,300 students, quickly committed itself to do something about the low score it received. When the health department announced the opportunity for grants through the CPPW program, Rockwood decided to proceed on a dual track — getting the Gold Standard process started, while also applying for a grant to engage students in tobacco counter-marketing efforts.
The Gold Standard school tobacco control policy is a 40-point index based on empirical literature and the expertise of a national advisory panel. The Saint Louis County Department of Health has been encouraging all area schools to adopt the Gold Standard policy because it comprehensively addresses the tobacco-free environment, including enforcement, prevention and treatment services, and policy organization.
“Though our event tonight is fun, the message is serious,” said Ken McManus, director of prevention services for the Rockwood School District. “We have put strong policies in place to help ensure our kids never start using tobacco, and are involving them directly in our anti-tobacco efforts. This is part of the responsibility we have to help our students achieve their full potential – both inside and outside the classroom.”
Dr. Dolores J. Gunn, director of the county health department, applauded the efforts of the Rockwood School District.
Said Gunn, “In the effort to change the culture around tobacco in St. Louis County, the Department of Health can’t work alone. All of us – schools, students, residents, businesses – have an important part to play in improving our community, and I am extremely proud of the Rockwood School district and its student leaders.”
In January, the health department launched its Let’s Face It initiative to coincide with the effective date of the new, voter-approved Indoor Clean Air Ordinance. The primary goals of the initiative are to:
Connect with youth to make sure they never start smoking;
Educate the general public about the impact and danger of second-hand smoke;
Provide resources, tools, and encouragement to smokers who want to quit.
To learn more about the Let’s Face It initiative, please visit:
To view the Public School District Baseline Policy Assessment, please visit:
To learn more about the new Indoor Clean Air Ordinance or about the Saint Louis County Department of Health, please visit:
About Let’s Face It
Let’s Face It is an initiative of the Saint Louis County Department of Health (DOH). It is funded by a Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services. Let’s Face It’s primary goal is to inspire the people of St. Louis to face the challenges of tobacco, together. The program represents a long-term commitment by DOH to make the community a better place to live, work, and play – by making it smoke-free. This helps to achieve DOH’s vision of giving everyone in St. Louis the opportunity to live the fullest, healthiest life possible. More information can be found at www.LetsFaceItSTL.com.