TAR Wars Fighting Record High Tobacco Usage in Barrow County
[Winder, Georgia, October 26, 2018] – During the week of October 22nd, all fourth and fifth grade students in Barrow County Schools participated in Tar Wars, a tobacco-free education program developed by the American Academy of Family Physicians. This program was a partnership between Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) and the Barrow County School System to teach students about the short-term health effects of tobacco use, the cost associated with using them and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco industry to market to youth.
“Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer, and statistics show Barrow County is especially at risk,” says Monica Newton, DO, co-chair of Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Community Health Needs Assessment Process & Implementation Plan. “We must get ahead of the curve and reduce the use of tobacco by students here in Barrow County – where the rate of lung cancer is nearly twice that of neighboring counties. As Partners in Education with the Barrow County School System, we hope to improve the health of the community for generations.”
This program is especially important for Barrow County, due to the history of lung cancer and tobacco use. Between 2008-2012, Barrow County had a lung cancer indicator value of 87.9, well above its neighbor Gwinnett County’s value of 54.1 and the state benchmark of 68.8 (National Cancer Institute). That means that roughly 88 people in every 100,000 had lung cancer in Barrow County during that time.
Using the Georgia School Health Survey and pre and post testing to show knowledge gains, NGMC will track the number of middle and high school smokers 1 – 2 years after the program has begun in the specific schools where the Tar Wars program was implemented. As Barrow County Schools and NGMC partner together, hopefully the number of smokers will begin to decline and lead to lower lung cancer rates for this generation.
Barrow County Schools are BOLDly Committed to Student Success and serve more than 14,000 students in the metro-Atlanta area. For more information, please visit www.barrow.k12.ga.us or contact us at 770-867-4527.
Since 1951, Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has been on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. With hospitals located in Gainesville, Braselton and Barrow – the three NGMC campuses have a total of 713 beds and more than 800 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. NGMC is part of Northeast Georgia Health System, a non-profit that cares for more than 1 million people across more than 18 counties. Learn more at www.nghs.com.