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. The NAFP Foundation, with the medical school FMIG Groups, administers the Tar Wars program for the state of Nebraska. The Foundation relies heavily on volunteers to spend both time and provide in-kind donations to support the anti-tobacco program.
Medical students, teachers and other healthcare providers visit classes to present the 45-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. One poster from each classroom is sent to the NAFP Foundation, where the NAFP members vote to select 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. For more information, visit the Tar Wars® section on the AAFP website.