Tobacco Initative
CISD Tobacco Policy

The use of possession of tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars, pipes, snuff, or chewing tobacco, is prohibited in school buildings or on school property. To view the Minor in Possession of Tobacco Laws, please click here.

Tobacco as a "Gateway" Drug

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has stated, "the experience of smoking can teach youngsters to use a psychoactive drug to influence mood and alertness, as nicotine does, and then reinforce that behavior. Smoking cigarettes prepares young people for the relevant mode of ingestion for one of the next drugs in the sequence - namely marijuana."

NIDA points out that drawing a foreign substance into the lungs is not a normal behavior for humans or other animals - it is a behavior which has to be learned and rewarded enough to overcome the aversive experiences which usually result."  Generally smoking cigarettes are the first peer-shared drug experience, or first illicit drug experience, similar to using Marijuana as it is usually hidden and outside most family and general societal acceptance standards

Smoking cigarettes can facilitate later drug use by teaching how to deeply inhale and hold smoke in the lungs  As a smoked drug, cigarettes initiate teens into the sensation of inhaling a drug and desensitize them to the feeling of smoke entering their lungs - A skill used for smoking marijuana, hashish, or free-basing crack cocaine

Here are 6 major points to consider.

  1. Tobacco is generally the first drug used by young people who enter a sequence of drug use that can include tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and harder drugs.

  2. Illegal drug use is rare among those who have never smoked and cigarette smoking is likely to precede the use of alcohol and illicit drugs.

  3. The amount of tobacco used is directly related to other drug use.

  4. Tobacco is officially recognized as an addictive drug.

  5. There is a dramatic association between smoking and illicit drug use.

  6. To allow tobacco use at schools, or at any teen function, is to sanction drug use

Youth Smoking & Relationship to Other Problem Behaviors of Youth

Other Problem Behavior

Never Smoked
Current Smoker
Alcohol use in past month 23.0% 74.4%
Five or more drinks in a row 9.5% 50.3%
Marijuana use in past month 1.5% 26.5%
Smokeless tobacco use in past month (boys) 4.1% 28.1%
Carried a weapon 9.5% 25.6%
Physical fight in past year 29.0% 54.7%
1992 National Health Interview Survey of Youth Risk Behavior
National Center for Health Statistics
*N=10,645 persons, age 12-21 years of age

Tobacco is Officially Recognized as an Addictive Drug

Tobacco is generally the first drug used by young people who enter a sequence of drug use that can include tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and harder drugs. Illegal drug use is rare among those who have never smoked and cigarette smoking is likely to precede the use of alcohol and illicit drug. The tobacco companies discovered decades ago that if they removed the nicotine, the addictive element, people stopped buying the tobacco products. Tobacco is also a gateway drug for teenagers. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal government agency, teens get hooked on tobacco by the time they are 12 to 14 years old. Adolescents who smoke are more likely to be involved in risky behaviors than teenagers who have never smoked.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse found that:

  • 95% of high school seniors who smoked, tried illicit drugs, while only 27% of non-smokers tried illicit drugs. 
  • 94% of smoking seniors tried marijuana compared to 20% of non-smoking seniors; 
  • 49% of smoking seniors tried cocaine, while 5% of non-smoking seniors tried it; 
  • 18.4% of smoking seniors drank daily compared to 1.7% of non-smoking seniors; and 
  • 67.9% of smoking seniors did some heavy drinking, while only 17.2% of non-smoking seniors did some heavy drinking.
According to former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders

"What is notable about tobacco use is that it consistently occurs early in the sequence of problem behaviors. When a young person starts to smoke or use tobacco, it is a signal, an alarm that he or she may get involved in other risky behaviors. This is one of the few early warning signs we have in public health. If we can prevent tobacco use in the first place, we might have a big impact on preventing or delaying a host of other destructive behaviors among our young people."

Take A Stand At Home

Despite the impact of movies, music and TV, parents can be the GREATEST INFLUENCE in their child’s lives. Tobacco advertising is aimed at young people. In fact, 80% of all smokers became addicted by the age of 18. Here are some simple steps to take to keep your child tobacco-free.

Talk directly to your children about the risks of tobacco use; if friends or relatives died from tobacco–related illnesses, let them know.

If you use tobacco, you can still make a difference. Your best move, of course, is to try to quit. Meanwhile, don’t use tobacco in their presence, don’t offer it to them, and don’t leave it where they can easily get it.

Tell your children about the dangers associated with tobacco use as early as age 5 or 6 and continue through their high school years. Many young people start using tobacco by age 11 and become addicted.

Discuss with young people and children the false glamorization of tobacco in magazines, movies and television.