February 1, 2007
MRH AND LOCAL PHYSICIANS COMBAT TOBACCO USE AMONG YOUTH
COLUMBIA, Tenn. – Maury Regional Hospital and members of the medical staff have teamed up on an initiative called "Tar Wars" to educate fifth graders in the local school system about the hazards of tobacco use.
Tar Wars is a program of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) that is implemented in classrooms across the U.S. and abroad by committed health care volunteers. The ultimate goal of the program is to discourage tobacco use among the nation's youth prior to the age when the decision to smoke or chew tobacco is made.
"Tar Wars is an excellent way to reach out to students and educate them about the harmful effects of smoking before they start," said Dr. Charles Ball, medical director at Maury Regional Hospital. "Students seem very enthusiastic about this fun, interactive program. The response has been great."
Dr. Ball, who is spearheading this program, has recruited six physicians on the medical staff to assist with this effort. The physicians are Drs. Robert A. Bain, Belinda K. Bart, J. Cummins Couch, R. Douglas Kennedy, and Kelly J. Williams. Each of the seven physicians will visit the schools and approximately 1,000 fifth graders in 34 classes will participate in this educational program that can save lives. Students will also have the opportunity to enter a poster contest and each school will select a first- and second-place winner who will be presented with a prize from Maury Regional Hospital.
At this time, Tar Wars is the only youth tobacco education program offered by a medical specialty organization in the United States. Since its inception in 1988, Tar Wars has touched the lives of more than 7 million children worldwide.