The Nicotine Use Prevention and Control program, which is part of the New Mexico Department of Health, and the 24/7 Campaign announced Tuesday the approval of an updated policy that prohibits the use, possession and distribution of all commercial tobacco and nicotine products at schools.
The 24/7 campaign is designed to help New Mexico schools be truly tobacco-free 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The approval of an update to Rule 6.12.4 NMAC, Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug-Free Schools is part of the NMDOH’s goal of making schools 100% Tobacco-Free. The policy has been accepted and is effective Nov. 7.
The rule applies to 129 school districts, 854 schools and more than 322,000 students and more than 21,000 staff. The vital role played by the voices of 11 high school youth from across the state, part of the Evolvement New Mexico program, in advocating for the updated rule during the public hearing in Santa Fe contributed significantly to the overall success of the initiative.
Evolvement is a youth-led movement that’s making a difference. Since 2010, more than 4,500 high school students have come together to create positive change in New Mexico by decreasing the harmful effects of tobacco and vape products.
“We applaud the approval of the 100% Tobacco-Free School Policy by the New Mexico Public Education Department,” said Esther Hoang, program manager at NUPAC. “This initiative aligns with our commitment to fostering a healthier generation, protecting the well-being of our youth, and creating environments that promote lifelong wellness. The collaboration between education and health sectors is crucial, and this policy sets a precedent for comprehensive tobacco control efforts in our state.”
The Future of Tobacco-Free Schools:
- Youth-driven momentum: The 24/7 Campaign, led by youth advocates, has established a precedent for effective youth-driven initiatives. Their efforts, spanning over 200 school board meetings and engagements with principals, have paved the way for a healthier school environment.
- Local success stories: Currently, 17 districts and one charter school have adopted comprehensive tobacco policies, covering 190 schools and protecting 75,000-plus staff and students. These local success stories serve as beacons of progress.
- Addressing emerging challenges: In the face of evolving nicotine products and deceptive marketing, the policy takes a proactive stance to prevent the normalization of harmful substances among youth.
- Commitment to addiction prevention: Recognizing the significant percentage of nicotine addictions start before the age of 18, the 100% Tobacco-Free policy positions schools as critical environments for addiction prevention.
The 24/7 campaign is an initiative fueled by students and funded by the NMDOH NUPAC program with a vision to help all school districts in New Mexico adopt, implement and enforce comprehensive nicotine-free policies. For more information, visit 247NewMexico.com or nupacnm.com to learn more.