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, image-based consequences 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. A follow-up poster contest is conducted at the school, state, and national level to reinforce the Tar Wars message.
The program, which is owned and operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), is implemented in classrooms across the United States and abroad by committed volunteer presenters such as family physicians, residents, medical students, school nurses, other health care professionals, educators, and community members. Currently, 47 AAFP constituent chapters and/or foundations are directly supporting and coordinating the program.
Tar Wars is the only youth tobacco education program offered at this time by a medical specialty organization in the United States and reaches approximately 400,000 students annually. The program has been active in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Uniformed Services, and Canada.
Internationally, Tar Wars has been presented in Australia, Bangladesh, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kosovo, Macedonia, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Presentation materials in Spanish are also available.
Since its inception in 1988, Tar Wars has touched the lives of more than 8 million children worldwide!