Tar Wars® is a pro-health, tobacco-free education program and poster contest for fourth- and fifth-grade students. It was developed in 1988 by the Hall of Life at the Denver Museum of Natural History and DOC (Doctors Ought to Care). In 1999, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) acquired full ownership and operation of the program. The AAFP provides support to Tar Wars® coordinators in each state. Since the program's inception, Tar Wars has been implemented in all 50 states, in 14 countries and has reached more than 8 million children worldwide. 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 posters are sent to the LAFP Foundation, where a panel of physician judges selects a statewide winner. That winning poster is submitted into the Tar Wars National Poster Contest. The ultimate goal is to discourage tobacco use among the nation's youth through an interactive format, community involvement and education.
The LAFP Foundation supports Tar Wars® by:
- Coordinating Volunteers to give presentations
- Encouraging schools to adopt the Tar Wars curriculum
- Helping local regions market the Tar Wars program
- Seeking partnerships with other organizations with the same goals as the Tar Wars program
- Applying for grants to fund the program