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NC Department of Health and Human Services
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Note: This site documents N.C.’s work on making public schools tobacco free, from 2000 until state law went into effect in 2008, and is provided as a resource for states and communities currently working to make their schools tobacco free. Factual information reflects research and data from 2000-2008.

Message to Parents

The sample letter or email below is designed to help schools communicate their new 100% tobacco free policy with students' parents.

Dear Parents or Guardians:

On (date) the (name of school district) School Board adopted a 100% tobacco free school policy. This policy prohibits all tobacco use – including all types of electronic cigarettes – by everyone, everywhere on campus, at all times – including school events after regular school hours. This policy also prohibits students from bringing tobacco products on campus. A copy of the new policy is attached.

The School Board adopted this policy for three reasons:

  • Support families to keep their children off tobacco
    Tobacco use is the single leading cause of preventable death and disease in our state and nation. More than 80 percent of adults who are addicted to tobacco began before the age of 18. In fact, the average age young people start using tobacco is between 12 and 14 years old. You are probably aware of the explosion of electronic cigarette use in our state and nation. Nationally data shows that more than one-quarter of U.S. high school students have used an electronic cigarette – considered a tobacco product under state and federal law – in the last 30 days. Youth spend a great deal of their time at school and school-related events. Allowing the use of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, on campus implies school approval of such use. Keeping tobacco off campus means students have less opportunity to see their friends and teachers using tobacco, and less access to tobacco products. This means they will be less likely to try – and possibly become addicted – to nicotine, which is known to harm the developing brain and can cause learning problems.
  • Provide a safe environment for students and staff
    We have an obligation to provide a safe learning and work environment for students and staff. Exposure to secondhand smoke or e-cigarette aerosol can trigger an asthma attack or worsen respiratory problems. Clusters of employees and visitors smoking and vaping outside near building entrances, or at school sponsored events, place others at risk. This does not meet the standard of a safe environment.
  • A cleaner campus
    Discarded smoking and vaping materials litter school grounds, parking lots, vehicles, and stadiums. Cleaning or replacing items damaged by smoke or discarded smoking materials is costly. Banning tobacco from campus will mean a cleaner environment for students, staff and school visitors.

Over the next few months, we will be placing signs promoting the new policy on all school campuses, and making announcements at school sponsored events. We will also let you know of upcoming tobacco education and cessation classes or other programs for students who use tobacco or vape and want to stop. If you have questions or comments about the policy, or want more information on these programs or services, please call the principal at your child's school.

Thank you for your support.


Superintendent or Board Chair




Updated: March 26, 2020