Student Assistance Programs: Helping to Close the Achievement Gap
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use, including cigarette and cigar smoking and smokeless tobacco use, is the leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Each year, smoking causes approximately 438,000 premature deaths. Every day, approximately 4,000 American youths aged twelve through seventeen try their first cigarette, and 1,140 of those students become addicted to nicotine. In 2007, 20 percent of high school students reported current cigarette use and 14 percent reported current cigar use. In addition, 8 percent of high school students and 18 percent of white male high school students reported current smokeless tobacco use. Students who use tobacco products are more likely to use alcohol and other drugs, be involved in violence and gangs, and experience a decline in academic success.
How a Student Assistance Program Can Help
Student Assistance Programs (SAPs) help students by informing them about resources available in the school or the community to help them stop using tobacco. In addition, the SAP team will investigate student involvement in other negative behaviors that are associated with tobacco use1.
Carefully examined data collected by the SAP can assist school or district advisory groups in assessing current tobacco-use prevention and intervention programs. Participant feedback can help determine the need for modifications to existing programs or the implementation of new strategies.
2005 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance (PDF), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Youth Tobacco Cessation: A Guide for Making Informed Decisions , Centers for Disease Control and Prevention