Savannah-Chatham County Public School System (SCCPSS) Superintendent Dr. M. Ann Levett yesterday received the inaugural Tar Wars Champion Award for her advocacy efforts in preventing youth vaping and smoking in Southeast Georgia. Under Dr. Levett’s leadership, the Tar Wars tobacco and vape prevention program was successfully implemented this school year with 10,000 SCCPSS students learning about the true dangers of tobacco and vaping products.
The award was presented by the Georgia Academy of Family Physicians who successfully coordinated the implementation of Tar Wars in Southeast Georgia thanks to a $100K grant from CareSource, a mission-driven Medicaid plan serving more than 500,000 Georgians.
“It is our honor to recognize Dr. Levett for her exemplary leadership and support of the Tar Wars program in Southeast Georgia,” said Fay Fulton, executive vice president of Georgia Academy of Family Physicians upon presenting Dr Levett with the inaugural Tar Wars Champion Award. “Thanks to her unwavering commitment, combined with the generous funding from CareSource, students in our district have a much better awareness of the dangers of smoking and vaping, and improvements are notable.”
In fact, post presentation survey results from schools implementing the Tar Wars program indicate that:
- 87% of students reported learning something new
- 93% of students responded people who smoke are not healthy and fit (post-test)
- 33% more students said advertisers are not telling the truth about tobacco use (post-test)
- 28% more students said vapes are not safer than regular cigarettes (post-test)
“At CareSource we believe that every child deserves a chance to live their best and happiest lives,” Taura White, senior director of population health at CareSource Georgia. “Smoking has a long history of being a precursor to a myriad of health ailments, and we now know vaping is just as dangerous. Preventing these harmful habits among our youth is one way to safeguard their health for years to come.”
Tar Wars is a national anti-tobacco/anti-vaping prevention program owned and operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Since its inception in 1988, the program has reached more than 10 million children worldwide. Last school year Georgia Family Physicians coordinated Tar Wars education for 55,000 students across Georgia.