Tar Wars is a tobacco-free education program for fourth- and fifth-grade students. The program is designed to teach kids about the short-term health effects of tobacco use, the cost associated with using tobacco products, and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco industry to market their products to youth.
The Tar Wars 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.
The Tar Wars program was developed by Jeff Cain, MD, and Glenna Pember of the Hall of Life, a division of the Denver Museum of Natural History, and Doctors Ought 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 is consistent with the guidelines for youth tobacco prevention programs set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Tar Wars has shown to be effective in increasing students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward tobacco use and advertising and should be considered as one of the building blocks in your school’s comprehensive, tobacco prevention education plan.
Supported in part by a grant from the AAFP Foundation
Note: Due to the new comprehensive approach to tobacco use and nicotine dependence, the Tar Wars poster contest is an optional activity for state chapters in 2015. There will not be a Tar Wars poster contest at the national level. Please contact your state coordinator for updates on your state poster contest.