BACKGROUND: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called for tobacco-free school (TFS) policies. In South Dakota (SD), a rural state with a large American Indian population, collaboration between state agencies focused on development and dissemination of a model TFS policy in 2008. This study explored the current status of TFS policies in statewide SD school districts. METHODS: Tobacco policies were requested from all SD school district administrators. A 26-point checklist based on CDC TFS policy guidelines was used to evaluate policies. Follow-up interviews were conducted with selected superintendents. RESULTS: Policies were received from 144 of 217 districts (66% response). Participation was higher for public districts than tribal/Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) districts and nonpublic districts. The overall mean policy score was 11.6 (SD 5.1). Public school districts had the highest mean (12.3) followed by nonpublic (8.9) and tribal/BIE (7.5). In a subset of districts with a large American Indian population (>30%), policy scores were lower for those located on reservation or tribal lands compared with other locations. Barriers to policy development were identified as time and staff expertise. CONCLUSIONS: There is a need to improve statewide TFS policies. A district report card with recommendations for improvement and a resource guide were developed and disseminated.
- Health policy
- South Dakota
- Tobacco-free school policy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health