The National School Boards Association ended its health curriculum partnership with R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. last week, highlighting the longstanding efforts of tobacco companies to influence what students are taught about cigarette smoking.
Officials in California, which has long been a leader in tobacco-use prevention, said it was unlikely schools in the state have used a youth smoking prevention curriculum marketed by Reynolds.
Denise Adams-Simms, a member of the Tobacco Education Research and Oversight Committee, a 13-member advisory panel that oversees the use of state tobacco tax revenue for research and education in California, said a recent informal review showed that “we have not seen any schools that are using the R. J. Reynolds program.”
The national association, which represents 90,000 local school board members, including those in the California School Boards Association, announced the end of the partnership just five days after saying it would promote the Reynolds “Right Decisions, Right Now” youth smoking prevention curriculum. In a statement, the association didn’t explain why it ended the relationship with Reynolds. The group declined further comment when contacted by EdSource.
Thomas Gentzel, the National School Boards Association’s executive director, told the Huffington Post that the partnership had been under development for months and involved payments from R. J. Reynolds. He said he did not know the amount of the payments but that there had been discussions about tobacco company support for association activities as well as for advertising in the group’s publication, the American School Board Journal.
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