Schools are institutions of learning and well-being. While many school districts have tobacco-free policies, these policies are incomplete and fall short of the “gold standard” if cessation services are not included. Despite this, almost no schools offer tobacco cessation services.

Offering services in schools helps eliminate barriers to cessation for youth, such as transportation, cost, and ability to provide follow-up. In addition, the availability of cessation provides a treatment alternative to the usual disciplinary action for youth who violate school tobacco policies. In alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model, tobacco cessation is a critical piece of the Health Services component. School nurses, teachers, counselors and administrators all have a role to play in improving the health of young people and can utilize this toolkit to help adolescents quit tobacco.

The ACES toolkit is for professionals who work with adolescents, especially in a school-based setting. Many of the tools provided in the toolkit focus on helping young people quit tobacco through behavioral interventions (e.g., motivational interviewing, completing the quit plan) and would not be considered a medical treatment requiring permission from parents and guardians. By focusing on changing behaviors around tobacco use, school nurses and professionals are able to provide effective and evidence-based assistance to student tobacco users, while respecting the young person’s need for confidentiality.

This toolkit was developed from evidence-based literature and best practices for adolescent tobacco cessation. It has been reviewed by experts in tobacco cessation and school nursing and is available to at no cost. It is designed to be used one-on-one with adolescents and does not require a group or classroom format.