(Torrington, CT) – Youth advocates and their families joined organizers and Mayor Elinor Carbone on June 15th for the 2015 Torrington Tar Wars poster contest awards reception. Tar Wars is an evidence-based tobacco prevention program sponsored by the American Academy of Family Physicians, and has provided roughly 8.5 million children with the skills they need to say “no” to tobacco. Over 3,500 local students have participated in the program in the last eight years.
“Connecticut’s youth continue to start smoking at an alarming rates and the American Lung Association has continually given Connecticut failing grades for its efforts in local tobacco prevention. It means we have important work to do. We are pleased to report that our collaboration between Torrington’s community partners to keep our children tobacco free has created an excellent model, which has gained attention across the state and country.” said contest organizer Dr. Stephanie Fowler.
Local students were asked to create posters, essays or any other ways to share a tobacco free message with their peers. The winners included St. Peter/St. Francis School students Ryan Lauer, Gabriel Duncan, and Madeline Propfe, Torringford School students Victoria Burke, Rohan Ramesh, and Hannah Llewellyn, Southwest School students Katelyn Johnston, Olivia Egliskis, and Phoenix Fields, Vogel-Wetmore School students Joseph Houle, Chole Rose, and Daniel Alvarez, East School students Johanna Jusup, Liana Haxo, and Amelia Russell, and Forbes School students Yadhira Tenempaguay, Lawrence Ballesteros, and Jade Robles.
Tar Wars is a tobacco-free education program for fourth- and fifth-grade students. The program is designed to teach kids about the short-term, image-based consequences of tobacco use, the cost associated with using tobacco products, and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco industry to market their products to youth. A follow-up contest is conducted to reinforce the Tar Wars message. Local organizations that support and promote Tar Wars are Charlotte Hungerford Hospital, Mayor Elinor Carbone, D.A.R.E. officers, Torrington Public Schools, Saint Peter/Saint Francis School, and the Connecticut Academy of Family Physicians, Connecticut Office of Rural Health, Torrington Area Health District, McCall Foundation and Education Connection.
Organizers believe the most effective way to combat nicotine addiction is to prevent our young people from ever using tobacco products. However, this is becoming more challenging as tobacco companies gear their ads towards kids and create tobacco products that look and taste like candy. With the Tar Wars contest, Torrington students combat these ads with their own positive tobacco-free messages.
Tar Wars has shown to be effective in increasing students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward tobacco use and advertising and should be considered as one of the building blocks in your school’s comprehensive, tobacco prevention education plan.
The Charlotte Hungerford Hospital is a 109-bed, general acute care hospital located in Torrington, Connecticut, that serves as a regional health care resource for 100,000 residents of Litchfield County and Northwest Connecticut. CHH offers personalized attention from an expert team of caregivers and physicians that utilize advanced technology and clinical partnerships in a convenient, safe and comfortable patient environment. One-Thousand Employees, One Job, Your Health. Visit www.charlottehungertford.org for information.