Tobacco-free education brings providers into B-B-E elementary classroom

Tobacco-free education program rolled out by CentraCare Health-Paynesville

The war is on. It's called Tar Wars.

Ryan Mareck, DNP, Wendy Miller, CNP, and John Tronnes, MD, of CentraCare Health – Paynesville are piloting a tobacco-free education program to 5th and 6th grade students of Belgrade-Brooten-Elrosa (B-B-E) elementary school. Tar Wars was developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians as an interactive way for students to learn about staying healthy and avoiding the addition of nicotine.

Ryan and Wendy are Tobacco Treatment Specialists. Both have attended a three-day training at the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, and completed additional on-line training hours. Tar Wars educates pre-teens on the health effects of nicotine and flavored, smokeless tobacco products such as e-cigs and chewing tobacco. It is estimated that each day more than 2,500 kids try their first cigarette.

"It's important that children learn about the harmful effects of nicotine products before they are confronted with the pressure to use nicotine. If we wait until after use begins, we have lost over half of the battle," said Wendy.

Four presentations are planned for the school year, each concentrating of a different type of nicotine related products. In November, the students collaborated on a tobacco product word-find, took notes on the slide show presentation, asked questions and shared their knowledge.

So, watch out world. The students from B-B-E are armed with knowledge and ready to fight the war on tobacco!


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