School Board hears info on tobacco use prevention

Macon County School Board photo by Vickie Carpenter

Diane Peltz – Contributing Writer

The Macon County School Board met on Feb. 27, for its regularly scheduled meeting. In addition to the student recognitions in last week’s Macon County News, Tobin Lee, NC Regional Tobacco Prevention Manager, Mountain Wise, gave a presentation on tobacco usage in youths. 

Tobacco use has increased in youths ages 18-21, says Tobin.  Many of them use e cigarettes.  Just one pod has the nicotine found in two packs of cigarettes. Tobin stated that many states have raised the age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21.  Statistics show that 95% of smokers start smoking before age 21.  This includes cigarettes and e cigarettes. Tobin spoke about the Synar Amendment.  In July 1992, Congress enacted the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration Reorganization Act (PL 102-321), which includes an amendment (section 1926) aimed at decreasing youth access to tobacco. This amendment, named for its sponsor, Congressman Mike Synar of Oklahoma, requires states to enact and enforce laws prohibiting the sale or distribution of tobacco products to individuals under the age of 18. States must comply with the Synar Amendment in order to receive their full Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant (SABG) awards.  The regulation requires that states:  

• Enact laws prohibiting any manufacturer, retailer, or distributor of tobacco products from selling or distributing such products to any individual younger than age 18.

• Enforce these laws.  

• Conduct annual inspections that provide a valid probability sample of tobacco sales outlets accessible to minors.

• Negotiate interim targets and a date to achieve a noncompliance rate of no more than 20% (SAMHSA requires that each state reduce its retailer violation rate to 20% or less by FY 2003).  

• Submit an annual report detailing activities to enforce the law. North Carolina has not complied with this amendment yet and is in danger of losing much needed funding, said Tobin.  He admonished that North Carolina needs to: 

• Collaborate (creation of a youth access tobacco group/committee).  Enforce youth tobacco access laws – statewide enforcement.  

• Mobilize the community to reduce minors’ access by implementing local efforts.  

• Place stronger restrictions/policies on retailer sales of tobacco products.  

• Provide retailer education (letters and packets to all establishments along with training opportunities).  Increase the price of tobacco products and implement mass media campaigns. 

The School Board will review the ability to create a tobacco group/committee  in Macon County.

Summer Career Activator Camps

This summer the CTE Program will be offering 13 courses for students to learn about different careers.  Forged in Fire will teach about the welding industry.  Jr. Chef offers students culinary skills exposure.  Game On is for those interested in computer gaming and coding. Shark Tank is for those interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Kids and Pros-Careers in Sports provide insights into the different careers involving the sports industry. First on Scene gives students a chance to examine the world of medicine including EMS, CPR and First Aid training.  Medical Explorers delves into the world of Health Career opportunities.  Learn to Fly offers aviation enthusiasts the opportunity to learn about flight through use of a flight simulator. Girls who Code dives into computer science and coding. The Littlest Vet Shop offers future veterinarians the chance to explore Veterinary Science, animal care, and anatomy. Be Our Guest invites students into the world of Hospitality and Tourism.  Mock Trial allows students to experience the legal field and the trial process.  Kids at Work, focuses on the Retail industry, Food Service and Technology. 

All courses will be held at FHS and are provided at no charge.

Summer Edventure Camp

This year the Summer Edventure Camp will run from June 12 to July 28.  Prices are the same as last year. The entire Camp June 12 – July 28 costs $1026.63.  Session “A” runs from June 12 – June 28, for a cost of $500.00.  Session “B” runs from July 3 – July 28 for a cost of $600. This year’s Summer Adventure Camp will be held at South Macon Elementary School.

Dr. Baldwin to retire in September

Dr. Baldwin announced that he will be retiring effective Sept. 1, 2023. Dr. Baldwin has served as Macon School’s Superintendent for 10 years.

The next board meeting will be held on March 27 at the Macon Schools Administrative Building.