Parents’ perceptions of the role of schools in tobacco use prevention and cessation for youth
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The purpose of this study was to examine Ohio parents’ perceptions of the role of schools in smoking prevention, cessation, and anti-tobacco policy for their children. A 46-item questionnaire was based on the CDC Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevent Tobacco Use and Addiction. Surveys (n = 800) were sent to a stratified random sample of parents of junior high and high school aged students and 57% responded. Parents were supportive of smoking prevention activities, but almost two-thirds believed their child’s school should get parents’ input. Furthermore, mothers/step-mothers were more likely than fathers/step-fathers to agree that the school had a role in smoking prevention activities. The majority of parents were also supportive of smoking cessation activities. However, only 8% of parent respondents supported schools providing nicotine gum or patches to students trying to quit smoking. Overall, the majority of parents were supportive of the seven recommendations developed by the CDC as guidelines for school health programs to prevent tobacco use and addiction. Schools have the opportunity to impact student smoking through prevention and cessation activities. Schools need to know that parents are supportive of these activities and want to be included in the process of implementing effective prevention or cessation programs.