Schools Teach How Not to Smoke
SAN JOSE, Calif. - It's Kick the Habit 101.
Some San Francisco Bay area schools offer class credit for smoking cessation programs, the latest among several aggressive steps educators are taking to keep students away from cigarettes.
"You need to involve kids during the day and provide incentives for them," said Margo Leathers Sidener, executive director of the American Lung Association of Santa Clara-San Benito counties. "A lot of schools just focus on prevention and ignore the kids who already smoke."
At Westmoor High School in Daly City, the association launched its "Not on Tobacco" program last week. A dozen student smokers will attend seven in-school classes about how to stop smoking for school credit.
When the program was tested in Santa Barbara last year, 21 percent of the teens stopped smoking after 2 1/2 months. Schools in San Joaquin give teens the patch and offer in-school, for-credit cessation programs.
Sometimes, even the best intentions can't stop teen-agers from lighting up. The San Jose Unified School District recently dropped its "Smokeless Saturday" program because not enough students were coming. The sessions were voluntary.