Health Enhancement and Safety


Montana Tobacco Free School Excellence Initiative (MTFSEI)

Thursday, March 1, 2012, 10:24 am

The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) Tobacco Use Prevention and Education Program, in collaboration with key stakeholders and the Montana School Boards Association, began working together in 2009 to update school policies regarding tobacco and nicotine use.  This partnership led to the creation of the Montana Tobacco Free School Excellence Initiative (MTFSEI).  The MTFSEI exists to assist school districts and communities in reducing and preventing tobacco use among youth.  The mission is to create and sustain the tools, assistance and strategies necessary to ensure that comprehensive tobacco free policies are adopted and are a durable component of all Montana school environments.  Following the passage of the Montana Clean Indoor Air Act, the Montana Board of Public Education encouraged all Montana school districts to adopt Comprehensive Tobacco Free School Policy (CTFSP) which is evidence-based, community-wide, and consistent with the national trend.

Dan Rask, Executive Director for the Montana Small School Alliance (MSSA) met with his board members in January.  The MSSA board adopted CTFSP into their Rural Policy Handbook affecting 1,207 students and adding 61 MSSA school districts to the list.  With MSSA on board, as of February 2012, (157 = 37%) Montana school districts have adopted CTFSPjoining the growing number of school districts leading the state in comprehensive tobacco-free policies and therefore becoming one of "Montana Tobacco Free School Districts of Excellence" (visit the OPI's Tobacco Use Prevention and Education Program at http://www.opi.mt.gov/tobaccoed/ and view the map and list of school districts that have achieved excellence).

If your school district would like technical assistance and your school district's policies assessed to become the next Montana Tobacco Free School District of Excellence, please contact Dana Geary, Tobacco Use Prevention and Education Specialist/Program Manager.

"Get involved by helping Montana's youth 'kick' tobacco -- in school and beyond!"

For more information, contact Dana Geary, 406-444-0785