Tar Wars


Tar Wars Logo Color

Dear Doctors, Health Professionals, and Teachers:

Together Family Physicians and the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians have been able to reach over 250,000 Colorado 4th & 5th graders with the Tar Wars message, helping children decide to live healthier, tobacco-free lives. 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. By utilizing a community-based approach to mobilize family physicians, educators, and other health care professionals, Tar Wars can accomplish its mission.

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 nt in support of the Tar Wars program.
  • Preventing tobacco use, the leading cause of preventable death in the world today, is the most important impact that we can make in our communities’ future health. Just as importantly, you’ll find Tar Wars to be fun and energizing experience that will thoroughly enjoy. Join us, for the health of it!

Jeff Cain, MD
Tar Wars Medical Director & CO-Founder

Presenter Info

Welcome! We are thrilled that you are interested in presenting this fabulous program. Tar Wars, which was established in 1988 by Colorado physician Jeffrey Cain, MD, educates 4th and 5th graders on the long-term effects of smoking on the body, as well as the short-term, image-based effects of tobacco use.

If you have already identified a school in your community that you would like to work with congratulations, you’re ready to go! Click on the Tar Wars Documents Tab above to locate your presenter materials. Don’t forget to share information about the Colorado State Tar Wars Poster Contest with your students.

If you do not know what school you would like to work with we encourage you to identify a nearby elementary school. Typically, you can reach out to the principal or 4th & 5th grade teacher via a phone call or email. Share a little bit about the program. For example,

“Tar Wars is a tobacco-prevention education program for 4th and 5th graders. The lesson plan consists of a one-hour classroom presentation and an invitation to participate in the follow-up poster contest. The winner of each participating elementary school goes on to compete at the state level.”

Don’t forget to tell them a little bit about yourself and why you are interested in presenting the program at their school. Once you have lined up your presentation click on the Tar Wars Document Tab above to access the Tar Wars Presenter Materials.

Help us track your participation. Please fill out the information below.

School Sign-Up

Thank you for your interest in having a Tar Wars Presenter at your school! Please fill out the form below, this will help us locate a presenter for you. We will be in touch shortly.

Video Presentations

If your school isn’t able to locate a Tar Wars Presenter for an in-person presentation, you can still bring Tar Wars to your students.

Thanks to a generous grant from COPIC Companies, the CAFP offers video versions of the presentations that can be used in the classroom, whenever it is convenient for you. Dr. Tamaan Osbourne-Roberts brings students education about the dangers of tobacco use and Dr. Aaron Shupp brings students information about marijuana in an optional supplement video.



Program Guide 

The Program Guide outlines the Tar Wars lesson plan. The lesson plan consists of a one-hour presentation in a school classroom or a community group setting. Use any of the 14 classroom activities in the guide, or create your own. Find tips and a quick guide for presenters on pages five and six.

Presenter Preparation Materials 

Use these PowerPoint slides as a preparation tool, and/or as a template to help you develop your own presentation.


Information for Parents 

A handout about the Tar Wars presentation for children to take home and share with their parents.

Tar Wars Marijuana Supplements

Presenter PowerPoint
Presenter Handbook
Information for Parents

Poster Contest

The poster contest is designed to reaffirm the Colorado Academy of Family Physicians (CAFP) Tar Wars message learned during the classroom presentation. Schools are encouraged to organize a poster contest at your school and motivate students to participate in this activity.


Each school should award the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and then send the 1st place winning poster to the CAFP, 2224 S. Fraser St., Unit 1, Aurora, CO 80014 by April 1.

Criteria and Rules

The CAFP Tar Wars national office has set the following criteria and rules for poster submissions. Please be sure to review the criteria and rules with students to ensure compliance and avoid disqualification.

  1. Only 4th and 5th grade students who have had the Tar Wars presentation are eligible to submit posters for the contest.
  2. Posters must incorporate original and creative artwork. Depictions of cartoon, video game, and movie and/or theme characters, television characters, and past poster designs do not constitute creativity and originality.
  3. 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.
  4. Posters must be no larger than standard poster board size (22″ x 28″) and no smaller than 8.5″ x 11″.
  5. Posters should not be laminated or mounted on mat board. Also, do not staple, glue, or tape entry forms to the backs of posters. You may paper clip entry forms to the poster.
  6. Ask students to refrain from writing their name or other identifying information on the front of their poster. Poster contest entry numbers should not be marked on the front of posters either.
  7. 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.
  8. Computer clip art, pictures from magazines and other print media, or any other copyrighted brand or product images will not be accepted.
  9. Students may not work in pairs or groups.
  10. Failure to comply with the guidelines could result in a disqualification of the poster.


Each school should choose its own team of judges. This team may be comprised of art teachers, school nurses, parents, older students, school board officials, local artists, PTA/PTO members, community leaders, or local media personalities.

Posters should be judged on their artistry, creativity, originality, and their ability to communicate a clear and positive message to remain tobacco free.

Submitting Posters for the State Contest 

Your school’s winning poster(s) should be sent to the CAFP by April 1.

The completed poster contest entry form and authorized release form must accompany the poster submission to the CAFP.

Winning state posters submitted to the CAFP become property of the CAFP Tar Wars program and will not be returned. Be sure to make color copies of any posters sent.