Tar Wars

Tar Wars is a tobacco-free education program for fourth- and fifth-grade students. The program is designed to teach children about the short-term health effects and image-based consequences of tobacco use, and about being tobacco free by providing them tools to make positive decisions regarding their health and promote personal responsibility for their well being.

After a Tar Wars presentation, a follow-up poster or video contest is conducted at the school, state, and national level to reinforce the Tar Wars message.

Tar Wars was developed by Jeff Cain, MD, and Glenna Pember of the Hall of Life, a division of the Denver Mueum of Natural History, and Doctors Out to Care (DOC) in 1988. Since the development of Tar Wars in 1988, the program has reached more than 10 million children worldwide.

The program is owned and operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the program is implemented in classrooms by volunteers. By utilizing a community-based approach to mobilize family physicians, educators, and other health care professionals, Tar Wars can accomplish its goals.

Program Goals

  • Increase knowledge of short-term health effects and image-based consequences of tobacco use
  • Illustrate cost/financial impact cost of using tobacco and ways money could be better spent
  • Identify reasons why people use tobacco
  • Explain how tobacco advertising, tobacco use in movies, and the tobacco industry markets their products to children

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