Tobacco-Free School?

Daryl Doiron was a buddy of mine in high school – we have shared a lot of laughs together over the years. In addition to being rugby and football teammates, he was in my grade 11 chemistry class. I recall the day Daryl was having difficulty figuring out a gravemetric stochiometry problem. I took the time to explain it to him; in fact, I explained it in a way that was different from the teacher’s approach. My explanation worked, and Daryl was off and running. I vividly remember him saying, “Hey (nickname), thanks. You should be a teacher.” It was at that moment that the thought of going into education first occurred to me. Thanks, Daryl, for planting that seed.


In 1998, the Department of Education in N.B. introduced Policy 702, the Tobacco-Free Schools policy. I was at Macdonald Consolidated and, by this time, it was a K-8 school. For us, the use of tobacco by students really wasn’t an issue.

Now I should point out that our school was named for Sir William Macdonald (note the lower case “d”), 10 February 1831 – 9 June 1917. He and his brother founded Macdonald Tobacco. As a philanthropist, he built a number of rural, consolidated schools. Our school was constructed in 1910 and the original structure still exists.

Following the release of Policy 702, schools in our district received an e-mail message from the administrative assistant to the Director of Education. It asked, “ … what programs (if any) do you have at your school dealing with smoking; ie, programs educating students about the consequences of smoking. Would you please let me know whether or not you have anti-smoking programs and, if so, what those programs are.”

I couldn’t pass up this opportunity. Here is my exact response:

From:  Caines, Gary

To:  N., J. (ED6/8)
Subject: Anti-Smoking Programs

Being a school which was built with money provided by a tobacco company, we actually encourage smoking, but we tell children that moderation is the key. Our rule is, “One cigarette per day per grade level”; ie, 1 smoke a day for grade 1’s; 8 for grade 8’s (kindergarten children are allowed to share 1 cigarette between 2 kids). Occasionally we have a child who refuses to smoke but I simply suspend them and they become the parents’ problem. Unfortunately, some of these parents are nonsmokers themselves, so I know in many cases the kids are not being forced to smoke at home – I don’t have much control over that though. All we can do is try our best.

To actually answer your question, we do not offer any formal anti-smoking programs.

Follow for more new stories each week!


p class="western">