Due to new legislation from the Ministry of Health and research showing youth are less likely to use tobacco later in life if their exposure to it is limited, South East Cornerstone School Division supports the provincial ban on the use of all tobacco products on school property.
The initial focus for Cornerstone will be to educate students, staff and the community about the tobacco ban and how the use of any tobacco products is no longer acceptable on all school property.
"The public's support will be vital to supporting the new legislation. It will be even more critical that we all be good role models for our students and respect the new legislation," said Dr. Marc Casavant, director of education. "Ensuring that our students and staff have the opportunity to learn and work in a safe and healthy environment is very important to the school division. We believe we can give our students the best opportunity to learn by maintaining a smoke-free environment."
The Government of Saskatchewan is committed to reducing the negative impact of tobacco use across the province and, through the Ministry of Health, is currently working to implement a provincial tobacco strategy. One of the goals of the strategy is to reduce youth smoking rates in Saskatchewan through youth-targeted initiatives.
In August, an amendment to The Tobacco Control Act came into effect, prohibiting tobacco use on the grounds of elementary and secondary schools in Saskatchewan. This change includes both smoked and smokeless tobacco, but does not apply to the sacred or ceremonial use of tobacco on school grounds.
The legislation applies to everyone, not just staff and students. It applies every day, at all times of the day, even when there are no classes in session. The legislation applies to the ground surrounding schools, including athletic fields, parking lots, green space and even space rented or leased by other groups if it is owned or operated by the school division. The new law also applies to businesses and colleges located on property owned or operated by any school and to clubs or organizations that are not affiliated with the school, who are using the space.
School divisions and their schools will be expected to lead the implementation of the ban using methods currently used for the school division tobacco-related policies, according to the Ministry of Health. If schools require enforcement on the issue, provincial tobacco enforcement officers would be available via a complaints process.
The Ministry of Health will support school divisions to implement the ban on tobacco use on school grounds by providing signs and other supports as necessary, including tools that can be used to assist in helping students or staff quit tobacco.