State awards Worth County Schools for tobacco-free policy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

State awards Worth County Schools for tobacco-free policy

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October 11, 2007

Sylvester -- Parents and students fill the Worth County stadium ready to cheer there favorite team to victory. "We enjoy the game. It's not violent or anything. Its always a good time to bring the kids to see the game. The Band sounds good and we enjoy it all," said parent, Shirley Griffen.

For the past couple of years those fans have been able to enjoy the games in a tobacco free environment. "I like it a lot because you can bring the kids and you are not choking over the smoke. There is not smoke all around you. And its not really nasty," said Griffen.

And now the state has acknowledged the Worth County School Board for their policy. "The Worth County School system has adopted what the state calls the gold standard achievement award, which is the 100 percent tobacco free schools," said Southwest Health Promotions Coordinator, David Cooper.

A policy that is completely intolerant to tobacco use. "All campuses, all properties owned or leased by the campuses, the vehicles are all 100 percent tobacco free 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Cooper.

It was originally put in place because of health concerns. "Smoking and second hand smoke both cause chronic lung disease. Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer," said Southwest Georgia Public Health District Director, Dr. Jacqueline Grant.

Administrators hope this policy will get students headed in the right direction. "If we can get kids to adhere to healthier habits early on, hopefully that will roll on through their adult lives. And they'll continue it on and pass it on to their kids," said Worth County School Board Chairman, Butch Jenkins.

They also hope the tobacco free policy will pass on to other counties. The Worth County School system is the first in the 14-county Southwest Public Health District to receive this award.

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