Tar Wars® is a tobacco-free education program for fourth- and fifth-grade students. The program is designed to teach kids about the short-term health effects of tobacco use, the cost associated with using tobacco products, and the advertising techniques used by the tobacco industry to market their products to youth. The Tar Wars program was developed by Jeff Cain, MD, and Glenna Pember of the Hall of Life, a division of the Denver Museum of Natural History, and Doctors Ought to Care (DOC) in 1988. Since the development of Tar Wars in 1988, the program has reached more than 10 million children worldwide.
The program is owned and operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and is consistent with the guidelines for youth tobacco prevention programs set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Program Goals & Outcomes

  • Increase knowledge of short-term health effects and image-based consequences of tobacco use
  • Illustrate cost/financial impact of using tobacco and ways money could be better spent
  • Identify reasons why people use tobacco
  • Explain how tobacco advertising, tobacco use in movies, and the tobacco industry markets their products to youth
Tar Wars has shown to be effective in increasing students’ knowledge of and attitudes toward tobacco use and advertising and should be considered as one of the building blocks in your school’s comprehensive, tobacco prevention education plan.
The LAFP Foundation administers the Tar Wars program for the state of Louisiana with volunteer coordination efforts from Area Health Education Centers (AHEC). The Foundation relies heavily on volunteers to spend both time and provide in-kind donations to support the anti-tobacco program.
Family physicians, parents, teachers and other healthcare providers visit classes to present the forty-five minute interactive curriculum that focuses on the short-term, image-based consequences of tobacco use and how to think critically about tobacco advertising. At the conclusion of the presentation, students are encouraged to create posters that reaffirm the positive Tar Wars® message.  The ultimate goal is to discourage tobacco use among the nation's youth through an interactive format, community involvement and education.


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