Missouri Tar Wars Program

The most visible Foundation project is the Missouri Tar Wars program with a tobacco-free message for fourth and fifth-grade students. 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 500,000 students annually. The program is implemented in classrooms across the US and abroad by committed volunteer presenters such as family physicians, residents, medical students, school nurses, other health care professionals, educators, and community members. The mission of Tar Wars® is to educate students about being tobacco-free, provide them with the tools to make positive decisions regarding their health, and promote personal responsibility for their well-being. Tar Wars can accomplish its mission by utilizing a community-based approach to mobilize family physicians, educators, and other healthcare professionals.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Educate and motivate students to be tobacco-free
  • Mobilize health care professionals to become proactive in their community’s health education
  • Encourage community involvement in support of the Tar Wars program

The following information is for Presenters:

Request for Tar Wars Materials
Poster Contest Guidelines
Tar Wars Presentation

On the day of the presentation
  • Provide letters to teachers and/or school nurses
  • Students complete pre-and-post survey
  • Give a presentation (above)
  • Make sure each student has a Parent Information Handout to take home. We have provided copies in English. You may want to download the Spanish version here if you have a large population of Spanish-speaking families.
Following the presentation
  • Complete your Tar Wars Presenter Evaluation and return with students’ pre and post-presentation surveys.
  • Presenters/teachers should encourage students to create posters that reinforce the Tar Wars message. Poster paper is included in your kit if requested. However, you may wish to use a different size of poster paper. If your school would like to submit your school’s winning poster to the annual Missouri Tar Wars poster contest, please read the Poster Contest Guidelines (above). You’ll want to share this information with your students before they create their posters. Send the winning poster to the Missouri Academy at the address below.
  • The Missouri Academy commends your school’s ongoing commitment to youth tobacco prevention.

Thank you for participating in Tar Wars® and helping kids to be tobacco-free!

Poster Contest – Deadline April 24, 2023

Prizes awarded:

  • First Place: $100 Gift Card
  • Second Place: $50 Gift Card
  • Third Place: $25 Gift Card

Mail entry (one per grade, per school) to:

Family Health Foundation of Missouri
722 West High Street
Jefferson City, MO 65101

Rules and Guidelines

The AAFP Tar Wars national office has set the following criteria for poster submissions. Please be sure to go over these with the students to ensure compliance and avoid disqualification.

  • Only fourth- and fifth-grade students who have had the Tar Wars presentation are eligible to submit posters for the contest.
  • Posters must incorporate creative and original artwork and ideas. Depictions of cartoons, video games, movie/television characters; celebrities; movie themes; and past poster designs do not constitute creativity and originality.
  • Posters must deliver a clear and positive message about being tobacco-free. Death themes and art displaying negative health consequences, cigarettes, ashtrays, coffins, people smoking, etc., are not considered positive messages and will not be accepted. A small no-smoking symbol is acceptable.
  • Posters must be no larger than standard poster board size (22″ x 28″) and no smaller than 8.5″ x 11.”
  • Posters should not be laminated or mounted on mat board. Also, do not staple, glue, or tape entry forms to the backs of posters.
  • Ask students to refrain from writing their names or other identifying information on the front of their posters.
  • Poster contest entry numbers should not be marked on the front of posters.
  • Students may use a variety of media, such as watercolor, pen and ink, crayon, chalk, markers, etc. Keep in mind that winning posters may be reproduced or reprinted, so clear artwork and easy-to-read messages are best. Computer clip art, pictures from magazines and other print media, or any other copyrighted brand or product images will not be accepted.
  • Students may not work in pairs.
  • Failure to comply with the guidelines could result in the disqualification of the poster.
  • Winners will be recognized at the school’s awards ceremony.


Posters should be judged on their artistry, creativity, originality, and their ability to communicate a clear and positive message to remain tobacco-free. Posters should also be judged on their compliance with the criteria listed above. Once chosen, complete the Poster Contest Entry Form and Poster Contest Authorization Release Form.
(Please save all pdfs to your computer and fill out the saved version before sending in)

More Information

For questions or to get your school involved, contact the Family Health Foundation of Missouri or call (573) 635-0830.