78 groups call for tobacco education in head start programs
We’re leading the charge with 77 other non-profit and government agencies, corporations and individuals to urge the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to include tobacco control measures as part of Head Start: the program that promotes school readiness for children from low-income families through education, health, social and other services.
Ensure a healthy future for everyone by urging @HHSGov to include tobacco control measures in Head Start
Specifically, we are asking HHS to require Head Start programs to promote shared responsibility with parents for identifying and addressing tobacco use in the home as a barrier to child wellness and regular child attendance, including identifying parents or guardians who are smokers, providing those who smoke with educational resources regarding the health and developmental consequences of secondhand smoke exposure and tobacco use and sharing resources for quitting. HHS is finalizing Performance Standards that serve as guidance for individual Head Start programs across the United States.
What’s the connection between adult smoking and making youth school ready? By reducing adult smoking in Head Start households, the programs can eliminate a significant barrier to attendance and school readiness. Head Start parents are among the adults most likely to smoke: the lower one’s income and education level, the more likely he or she is to smoke. And exposure to secondhand smoke has long been understood to cause health consequences including asthma and other respiratory illnesses that lead to absenteeism.
These comments are part of a broader effort to improve the health outcomes of Head Start families by their reducing tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. Truth Initiative has worked with local Head Start programs in 16 states and 2 territories for the past 11 years to integrate tobacco use screening and education into programs for Head Start parents.
This is an important regulatory policy for securing a healthy future for nearly one million children from low-income households. Groups joining us in calling on HHS include several tobacco control partner organizations, the National Head Start Association and the March of Dimes Foundation.