Taking A Stand Against Tobacco Use


More and more high schools throughout the country are testing student athletes for drug or alcohol use. If a student fails a random urine test, they may not be eligible to participate in athletic events.

And while Payson High School has no drug testing policy, some communities are taking an even tougher stance against substance abuse by testing athletes for tobacco as well as alcohol and drugs.

In Birmingham, Ala., officials at Hoover High School are testing at least half the athletes in all sports. Students get three chances before punishment is imposed.

When an athlete's urine sample tests positive for tobacco, officials will first notify the parents and tell the student to quit.

A second positive test will land the student athlete in a tobacco education course, which will be followed by further testing.

The third offense results in the athlete's suspension from one-quarter of their athletic contests.

The American Civil Liberties Union thinks testing for tobacco sets a dangerous precedent and will add to the power of "Big Brother."

But school officials in Alabama, Wisconsin and Virginia, who have begun testing for tobacco, have the approval of "Big Mother and Father." Not only have there been no objections, many parents are praising the expanded testing. Even parents who smoke know the dangers of tobacco.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 34.8 percent of high school students nationwide say they had smoked a cigarette in the previous 30 days.

It's a sad, but true, fact that what we do tells our children more than what we say. We applaud Hoover High School for stepping forward and taking a real stand against substance abuse.

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