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School Boards Association Ends Tobacco Company Partnership After Criticism

By Evie Blad — October 14, 2014 1 min read

This is a cross post from Rules for Engagement.

The National School Boards Association will immediately terminate its work with the R.J. Reynolds’ Right Decisions, Right Now youth anti-smoking program, the organization announced Tuesday, just five days after it first announced the partnership with the tobacco company.

The association’s decision came the same day Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., urged the NSBA’s members “to see through this sham and reject the deal.” Blumenthal, who is outspoken about youth tobacco use, said the program urged kids to wait until they were adults to smoke, rather than discouraging the practice all together, The Hill reports.

“Big tobacco’s goal in this deal is to promote smoking, not prevent it,” Blumenthal said, according to The Hill.

A press release from R.J. Reynolds, still online Tuesday evening, described Right Decisions, Right Now as a free, common core-aligned online program and “a successful, evidence-based curriculum designed to educate middle-school students about the dangers of tobacco use and offer ways for them to lead a health lifestyle.”

The NSBA release did not cite the criticism or provide a reason for the decision to end the partnership.

“The association’s aggressive advocacy push around tobacco use prevention and smoking cessation will continue, unabated, until the NSBA goal to make every public school across America a tobacco- free zone is fully accomplished,” the organization said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with America’s leading public health advocates to move this effort forward.”

Image from Right Decisions, Right Now materials.

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

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