Topic 3 What’s next? What can a teacher do?

When a teacher realises that a student is using tobacco (in any form), it is very important to maintain a positive attitude.

  • Listen to what the adolescent has to say (reasons for tobacco use, emotional state, etc.).
  • Talk to the adolescent and let him/her know about the school policy against tobacco use.
  • Understand if the adolescent is willing to quit and think about how you can support him/her.
  • Talk to the director to know what can be done at school and which is the policy of the school and consult with the school counsellor/psychologist.
  • Communicate with parents. You can refer to the school’s policy that describes precisely what steps, and in what order the school with taking in response. 
  • Implement workshops generally for the class to empower the life skills of the students, without stigmatising the specific student. 
  • Bring a local young influencer to share an inspiring story.
  • Promote positive habits on every occasion.
  • Create and promote a campaign for school and community to underline the positive aspects of non-smoking and promote positive youth development:

a)Plan the campaign with students.

b)Find funding if necessary.

c)Set a clear goal.

d)Create videos, songs, promotional material with students.

e)Use technology/social media means that attract youth and be aligned – speak as the youth needs; relevant video.

f)Include parents.

g)Disseminate the campaign to local stakeholders, invite people and authorities for public participation and to focus on collective interests. 

h)Launch the campaign on World No-Tobacco day celebrated on the 31st of May.

The campaign should not be a sole action, but it can be an idea for further support and local collaborations.

  • Planning the period of implementation.
  • Design of messages that are tailored to the target group and take into consideration its characteristics to increase understanding. 
  • Coordination of information and communication, by using a combination of diverse channels.
  • Consult health experts to be sure that you promote the right message, communicate the message clearly and deliver it effectively to the target audience.

A campaign can be found here. Implementing a campaign at a local level, including all possible actors, can affect actions in different places of the students’ closest environment and support them when they will wish to quit tobacco use.

Another campaign with photo stories: On World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), on the 31st of May, teachers can increase their prevention actions to empower their students. The theme of the campaign is different every year. One of the latest campaigns was entitled “Protecting youth from industry manipulation and preventing them from tobacco and nicotine use”.

The purpose was to raise awareness about the marketing methods of tobacco and related industries, such as e-cigarettes vendors, to attract younger generations and for youth to stand up to the tobacco industry. Activities included webinars, drawing competitions and award ceremonies, all of which encouraged everyone to become well informed and join the fight against the tobacco industry. Here you can see some projects that various teachers created with their students.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has the mission to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Here, you can find the material they have created for organisers of the educational event “Talk. They Hear You.” ®.

It contains the event planning toolkit with customisable materials from identifying and inviting speakers and audience members to creating an event agenda, organising logistics, and inviting media.

You can extract some useful guidelines for creating your event and involving the community rather than exclusively the students. 

  • Think of a campaign (theme) that could be useful for the prevention of tobacco use at your local level. A tip for coming out with a campaign would be to think on the 5W and the 1H questions:
    • Why– Why are we doing this event? This question will allow you to get at the drivers and benefits that the event is to deliver which will allow you to deliver an event that will satisfy your audience and stakeholders.
    • What– What do we do? This is the first question you ask when you’re trying to gather requirements for your event to define the scope
    • Who– Who are your stakeholders, team, attendees that will work on, sponsor and ultimately benefit from when your event is completed?
    • When– When the event will take place? You need to know why what and who will be part of your project before you can adequately answer when it will happen.
    • Where– Where will the event take place? Where will it be delivered? 
    • How – Which practices, methods and tools are necessary for the event to happen? 
  • Take some time to plan your pre-event tactics based on the above information found on the file (theme, identify attendees, speakers, etc.).
  • To test your digital skills, try to compose an e-newsletter or an email to promote your event. You can use https://www.canva.com to make your e-newsletter more attractive and appropriate to be used in social media. Have in mind these content and layout tips: 
    • Use an attractive title that will catch the attention of the reader.
    • Try to keep your news easy to read, short and interesting.
    • Break up large articles with sub-heads to make them more inviting.
    • Brand the document so people know who it is from.
    • Use images to tell and support your main story/news.