July 12, 2020

Health teach 24,000 Canarian students how to prevent tobacco and alcohol – La Provincia


The Ministry of Health of the Canary Islands Government, through the General Directorate of Public Health and in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Universities, starts the activities of the ITESplus program planned for the academic year 2019-2020, in which more than one hundred centers of Secondary education from all over the Canary Islands, with almost 1,000 teachers and ones 24,000 students Participants

The ITESplus program, which has received the Recognition of Good Practices from National system of health, try to reduce the negative effects of tobacco and of alcohol on health, affecting the prevention of consumption. Although focused on prevention, some students stop using both substances after completing the program.

ITESPlus is developed in the school context throughout all secondary education. It has worked hard to make its implementation easy and sustainable over time and in it participate voluntarily teaching centers throughout the autonomous community of the Canary Islands. The target population is made up of students enrolled in the participating centers.

Teacher training

The program activities are carried out by the teachers themselves, who are previously trained for this by the team of the General Directorate of Public Health. The program began in the 2001-2002 academic year in three public centers on the island of Tenerife. During the 18 years that it has been operating, other public, concerted and private centers have been progressively incorporated, up to a hundred.

The main objective is to implement a program that reduces the prevalence of tobacco and alcohol consumption among young participants when they finish compulsory secondary education. To achieve this, we work to increase the perception of risk for each age of the consumption of these substances, increasing the self-efficacy to develop a full health life without smoking or drinking alcohol.

In this way, they work with students throughout their secondary education. The intervention includes three interactive workshops for each course, adapted to the corresponding ages, with informative content, modification of values ​​and attitudes towards tobacco and alcohol and critical analysis of the publicity of both. Too assertive communication and pressure resistance skills are developed of the group. The workshops have been designed by a multidisciplinary team composed of doctors, health educating psychologists and teachers.

In the last 2018-19 edition, 103 centers from all the islands participated, with 937 teachers and 22,500 students of Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO). At the end of the program, the participating students have a 53.4% ​​lower consumption of tobacco than those who have not taken part in it; a decrease that occurs in both sexes.

The number of daily smokers is also lower in the program (2.5%) than in the control group (11.6%) and the number of students who have consumed also decreases electronic cigarettes in the last month (5.4% versus 10.4%). As for alcohol, students participating in the program have fewer consumers in the last month (40.5% vs. 70%), less acute alcohol poisoning (13.2% vs. 25.6%) and a decrease in consumption intensive (binge drinking).

These results demonstrate that it is possible to carry out an effective prevention of the consumption of these two substances that cause serious health problems.

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