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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: A program to reduce and prevent smoking and institute a smoke-free school is running in 13 schools in Israel.
Methods: The program consists of setting up a school steering committee, establishing a school policy, integrating the issue into the curriculum, building youth leadership, and evaluation.
Results: The implementation in Jewish and Arab schools, differs due to the cultural variance in the following domains: • Smoking prevalence differs between the two groups, and a large gender difference in the Arab population further fragments the target audience. • Passive smoking – smoking prevalence is relatively high among Arab men, with women and children subjected to passive smoking at home. Changing norms at home is challenging: a request by a child or a woman may be interpreted as challenging the authority of the father. • Smoke free policy targets mainly students in the Jewish schools, whereas in the Arab schools both teachers and students are the target audiences. • Choice of program coordinator – are considerations for hiring a coordinator exclusively professional or also socio-cultural? We have found that the coordinator in the Arab community must belong to an influential family. • Youth leadership activities are in demand among Arab students, despite their ambivalence towards smoking. Youth leadership activities are least attractive among Jewish youth who have many leadership training options; there is a need to actively promote these activities so that they will be accepted. Implemention in both Jewish and Arab communities requires collaboration with the communities, involvement of local authorities and heightened sensitivity to cultural issues.