School Policies


The tsunami of e-cigarette and vape pen use as well as use of other tobacco products has made the tobacco control movement relevant again.  It is time again for schools and parents/guardians to engage with youth about the impact of using tobacco products.

This module provides schools with tools necessary to develop, promote, and maintain a tobacco-free campus community and provide educators and schools with resources to disseminate policies and procedures to caregivers.


  • Present examples of information and templates on school tobacco policies, procedures, and programs
  • Provide information on ways in which school policies and program can be disseminated to parents/guardians


Parents/guardians seem to be unaware of what schools are doing in connection to school’s tobacco education, prevention programs, and policies/procedures.  It is incumbent upon schools to communicate this information to families, before youth are in violation. It is important to be preventive, not reactionary. A buried page in the school handbook at the beginning of the year is not achieving the desired goal. 

School Tobacco Prevention Activities

Many schools have a series of activities held either during the school day, after school, or on weekends that promote a tobacco free campus and tobacco use altogether.  For example, some schools have a Kick Butts Day, or hold seminars teaching youth about the harms of using tobacco. 

If your school holds such events, we strongly suggest that you inform teachers, students, parents, and others ahead of time, through your school website, emails, public service announcements, and so on.

Here are some national events you might want to consider holding.

  • Red Ribbon Week is a national awareness campaign that works to prevent alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
  • Great American Smokeout is an annual event to encourage people to stop tobacco smoking. It is hosted by the American Cancer Society on the third Thursday of November.
  • Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism where young people are encouraged to host events that work towards a tobacco-free society.
  • Earth Day is a day that is observed worldwide to support environmental protections.
  • World No Tobacco Day is a worldwide campaign that encourages a 24-hour period of abstinence from all tobacco products.

School PSA's to Convey School Policies and Information

Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are a great way to convey, raise awareness about, and reinforce information to your entire school community about the reasons behind and objectives of your new tobacco free school policies.  Good PSAs can also help garner youth energy to work together to make your school tobacco-free.

The information here provides tips on how to make a great PSA announcement and some templates you can use.

Before getting started, you should figure out when PSAs are typically given at your school, so that you can have the biggest impact.  For example, is it best to give a PSA just before lunch?  First thing in the morning?  How about giving a PSA during Back-to-School night or during other school-wide community events?

Raising Awareness About a New School-Related Tobacco Policy

This template can be used to let your PTA know about current and new school tobacco policies, and to elicit their help in spreading the word.  Feel free to alter, and to put on your school letterhead

This template can be used to let parents/guardians and others know about current or new school policies.  Feel free to alter, and to put on your school letterhead.

Valuable Resource: Comprehensive Tobacco-Free School Policy Toolkit

The resource provided here was developed by the California Department of Education (CDE) and include valuabe information and templates that can be helpful in the development of tobacco-tree policies. The toolkit includes information about:

  • Effectiveness of Comprehensive Tobacco-Free School Policies. 
  • Value and Benefit of Tobacco-Free Schools
  • Adopting a Policy
  • Policy Development and Implementation
  • Sample Policies and Regulations
  • Communicating the Policy
  • Enforcing the Policy
  • Sample Consequences for Policy Violations
  • Checklist for Model Tobacco-Free School Policy
  • Sample Signs to Enforce Policy


From the Comprehensive Tobacco-Free Policy Toolkit:

"To help ensure that all kids in California have the best chance of growing up tobacco and nicotine free, the California Department of Education (CDE) has developed this Tobacco-Free Schools Toolkit to promote tobacco-free schools. The enclosed tool kit provides many helpful resources that you can use to establish and promote a Tobacco-Free School Policy for everyone who uses your facilities.

We hope that these tools will assist you to assess your school district’s current tobacco policy, take action to address any gaps and, if necessary, strengthen your enforcement procedures."

This document can also be found here.