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Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU)

Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) is a program that allows students ages 14-17 to mentor youngsters about the dangers of smoking. Research indicates that teens enjoy opportunities to positively influence their younger counterparts. Consequently, this mentoring also serves to reinforce their decisions to remain smoke-free. Evidence suggests that peer-led programs such as TATU are more effective in reducing tobacco use among youth.

The Need for Tobacco Education:

  • Tobacco use begins at an early age. Almost 90 percent of all smokers begin before the age of 18.
  • Everyday more than 4,000 kids try their first cigarette; and each day more than 2,000 other kids under 18 years of age become new regular, daily smokers. That's more than 750,000 new underage daily smokers each year.
  • The tobacco industry concentrates its marketing efforts on our nation's children. They recognize that new smokers must continually be recruited to replace the nearly half-million who die annually of tobacco-related illnesses.

Effective Solutions:

  • The TATU program transforms teens from consumers to consumer advocates. They learn to recognize the tobacco industry's efforts to target them as the next generation of smokers.
  • Teens learn the vital role they will play in education children on the dangers of smoking
  • Empowered with this new knowledge, the teens take their anti-smoking message to schools throughout their community.
  • TATU teens have been involved in advocacy issues in their own communities, which have broadened their roles as youth leaders and role models.
  • In elementary and middle schools, high school youth presentations are a refreshing departure from the traditional lessons taught by adults.

Implementing TATU in a Community/School:

In order to implement the TATU program, an adult program facilitator must attend an all-day training. The American Lung Association also needs commitments for:

  • One or two adult program facilitators, and
  • One school program coordinator that would be in direct communication with the American Lung Association (this person can be a facilitator).
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