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American Dental Association Supports Tobacco-Free School Laws

Encourages its members to support state tobacco-free school laws

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CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2009—At its annual governance meeting, the American Dental Association (ADA) House of Delegates recently adopted a resolution supporting tobacco-free school laws and policies to prevent tobacco use and addiction in children.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a tobacco-free school can help prevent and reduce tobacco use in youth and help them avoid tobacco-related diseases such as cancer and heart disease.  

Each year, an estimated 438,000 people in the U.S. die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke and another 8.6 million have a serious illness caused by smoking, according to the CDC.  If current smoking patterns persist in the U.S., approximately 5 million people younger than 18 years old will die prematurely of tobacco-related diseases.

ADA delegates voted to support laws or policies that incorporate the "Guidelines for School Health Programs to Prevention Tobacco Use and Addiction" developed by the CDC in collaboration with tobacco-use prevention experts across the country.  The guidelines include tobacco-use prevention and education in kindergarten through 12th grade and support for tobacco-use cessation efforts among students and school staff.  

The ADA encourages its members and state dental societies to collaborate with students, parents,  school officials and members of their communities to establish tobacco-free schools.

About the American Dental Association

The not-for-profit ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing 157,000 dentist members. The premier source of oral health information, the ADA has advocated for the public's health and promoted the art and science of dentistry since 1859. The ADA's state-of-the-art research facilities develop and test dental products and materials that have advanced the practice of dentistry and made the patient experience more positive. The ADA Seal of Acceptance long has been a valuable and respected guide to consumer dental care products. The monthly The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) is the ADA's flagship publication and the best-read scientific journal in dentistry. For more information about the ADA, visit For more information on oral health, including prevention, care and treatment of dental disease, visit the ADA’s consumer website