South Callaway students look toward tobacco-free future

A new policy will make all of South Callaway's buildings, grounds and events tobacco-free.

Years of hard work are paying off for a group of students at South Callaway High School. The school board Wednesday passed a new tobacco-free campus policy drafted by the Smokebusters club.

The club is a branch of the Turning Resources an Energy in New Directions (TREND) club.

Currently, all South Callaway buildings are tobacco-free. The new policy extends the area to include all district buildings, grounds and events. It will take effect July 1, 2014.

The policy applies to students, staff and parents. It includes tobacco use at sporting events.

Senior Natalie Bittle says parents smoking at games is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Garner Rudroff, a senior Smokebuster and football placer, said any way to reduce smoke at sporting events would be beneficial.

"It's not just at football, it can be at cross country. I have a lot of friends who do cross country too and [when you're] running and you hit that smoke it makes it harder to breathe," Rudroff said.

Senior Teddy Weber agreed that smoking at sporting events should be eliminated.

"I wanna set the best example we can. And sitting at a football game smoking is not that, in my opinion," Weber said.

Weber added that other students, even those who use tobacco products, seem supportive of the new policy.

"I've talked to them about it and they're even...they have no problem with it being a tobacco-free campus, they fully understand," he said.

Lindsey Even, a guidance counselor at South Callaway and the sponsor of TREND and Smokebusters, said she's heard positive feedback so far, but knows that the policy will draw criticism from some.

"Some people may disagree, but we're just going to promote it...this is what we'd like to see at South Callaway, this is what's important to us. And we'll deal with criticism as we go along as we would with anything else," Even said.

Even said they plan to phase in the new policy to give people time to adjust.

In the meantime, the students are trying to make signs to spread awareness of the new policy and provide alternatives to smoking.

"Handing out gum at a game instead of know, chew this instead," Bittle said.