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STRATEGY 1 – Provide Information

This includes educational presentations, school curricula, workshops or seminars, data or media presentations, public service announcements, brochures, billboard campaigns, community meetings, town halls, forums and Web-based communications.

This strategy focuses on community education and increasing public awareness of the problem(s) and solutions. Strategies can range from informing your community about the dangers of tobacco use to educating youth and adults about the marketing and advertising tactics of the tobacco industry. Information sharing can target many different audiences, from the general public to teens and parents, police officers, healthcare providers and educators, as well as public policy decision makers. Some of the activities in this strategy can be launched during one of the nationally recognized tobacco prevention holidays such as Great American Smokeout, held every November.

KEY MESSAGES TO INCLUDE IN MATERIALS:

  • Alert the community to the problem of teen tobacco use.
  • Explain the types of tobacco products used by teens including cigarettes, cigars smokeless tobacco and emerging products such as snus, dissolvables, little cigars and cigarillos, Hookah, E-Cigarettes, and Roll-Your-Own.
  • Show how marketing and packaging of tobacco products target youth (e.g., product location in stores, bright colors attracting youth by resembling candy wrappers)
  • Clarify the dangers that second-hand smoke pose to friends, family and co-workers
  • Identify smoking cessation resources available in the community

Information dissemination practices must be tailored to meet the unique characteristics and diversity of specific target audiences.  The follow examples identify potential messages and media that can be used to reach specific audiences including the general public, youth, parents, current tobacco users, health care professionals, youth workers, and policy makers.

Information Targeting the General Public

  • Pitch your coalition’s local tobacco use prevention story to radio, television talk show, local newspapers and social media sites.  Describe how the coalition works to prevent underage tobacco use.
  • Post flyers and posters in stores, libraries, churches and other locations frequented by youth and their families.   The flyers and posters can be frequently changed as part of an ongoing public awareness campaign.  The flyers and posters can provide information about the dangers of tobacco use, the harms of second- and third-hand smoke, social norms information stating the numbers of youth who do not use tobacco products and resources to assist in quitting the use of tobacco products
  • Ensure signage identifying tobacco-free facilities is clearly visible.  This strategy helps establish the norm that smoking is harmful to the smoker and to those exposed to second-hand smoke.  This includes public facilities, athletic and entertainment venues, hotels, bars and restaurants.
  • Create billboards that:
    • Alert the community to the problem of teen tobacco use;
    • Explain the different types of tobacco products and show how the packaging and colors attract youth by resembling candy wrappers;
    • Clarify the dangers that second-hand smoke pose to friends, family and co-workers; or
    • Promote 1-800-QUIT-NOW tobacco prevention hotline
  • Distribute key pieces of tobacco use prevention and cessation information through utility bills, monthly bank statements, payroll stuffers and hospital or dentist office promotional material.
  • Provide information about drug free workplaces to local businesses including information about tobacco free environments and cessation resources.
  • Host tobacco prevention conferences and seminars with coalitions and other community groups in bordering communities and states to place a spotlight on how tobacco laws in different communities and states impact tobacco use among youth and adults.
  • Implement community-wide events such as walk-a-thons, town hall meetings and parades that engage large segments of the community. These events provide excellent opportunities to raise tobacco use visibility and educate the public.
  • Ensure your coalition’s presence on community-wide event committees to incorporate tobacco prevention messages and policies at the event. Some local events you might consider: Annual Pride Parade, African American Festivals, Cinco de Mayo, Fourth of July Celebration, etc.]

Information Targeting Youth

  • Link with existing national and state counter marketing campaigns (e.g. TRUTH, Partnership for a Drug-Free America) to provide local data, and relevance to specific populations of youth in the community
  • Post flyers, posters, banners, display boards and other visuals in schools, youth drop-in locations, recreation centers, gaming arcades, gas stations/convenience stores, movie theatres, mall and other locations frequented by youth.  The visuals can provide information about the dangers of tobacco use, and how to access additional information and resources.
  • Involve youth in creating videos about the dangers of tobacco use. Promote widely through social media sites, such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
  • Promote youth generated radio and television PSA about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke for athletes, pregnant women, youth and adults
  • Provide counter advertising at sporting events (e.g. baseball, rodeo, car racing, tennis) at which tobacco manufacturers target advertising for cigarettes and smokeless tobacco

Information Targeting Parents

  • Provide information to parents encouraging them to:
    • Express disapproval of tobacco use (even if the parents smoke)
    • Discourage friends who are smokers from smoking around youth and in places where second hand smoke can affect others
    • Make tobacco products inaccessible in the homes (if the parents smoke)
    • Limit access to pro-tobacco media
    • Keep the home smoke free (even if the parents smoke)
    • Engage in conversation with their children about the dangers of smoking
    • Seek cessation services for themselves or others
  • Educate parents on the types of tobacco products and show how the packaging and promotions target youth
  • Post appropriate flyers and posters in grocery stores, businesses, libraries, churches and other locations frequented by parents.  The information should provide information about the extent of the problem and encourage parents to speak with their children about tobacco (and other drug) use
  • Incorporate training and awareness activities into community health and state fairs, senior center events and hospital open houses.

Information Targeting Current Tobacco Users

  • Provide information about the harms of smoking, second-hand smoke and cessation resources at or near retailers that sell tobacco products
  • Provide information about cessation resources at designated smoking areas and other locations where smokers may congregate
  • Provide information to employers in industries where smoking is more prevalent (e.g., miners, food service workers and construction workers).  Employers can implement smoking prevention and cessation strategies that can result in reduced illness, absenteeism and insurance costs
  • Ensure signage identifying tobacco-free facilities is clearly visible.  This strategy helps establish the norm that smoking is harmful to the smoker and to those exposed to second-hand smoke.  This includes public facilities, athletic and entertainment venues, hotels, bars and restaurants.

Information Targeting Health Care Professionals

  • Place specific information in doctor and dentists’ offices, clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and other health care related locations that can be provided to patients, clients and customers about the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke and ways to access cessation resources. Additionally, information on brief intervention, prevention and cessation resources can be provided to the health care professionals.
  • Generate and distribute 1-800-QUIT-NOW stickers and warning labels that healthcare providers, pharmacists and others can creatively use to reinforce tobacco use prevention messages. These can be placed on clinic scales, prescription bags and clipboards that patients sign-in on.
  • Confirm if prevention messages or the 1-800-QUIT-NOW hotline can be placed on pharmacy HIPPA sign-off machines so that when consumers sign for their medications, they are reminded to, “be tobacco free.”
  • Provide information and training to health care professionals who serve young people (e.g., pediatricians, dentists, orthodontists, allergists, school nurses, social workers) to routinely and consistently deliver a brief three-step intervention consisting of “the three A’s:”
    • Ask about tobacco use at every visit;
    • Advise all tobacco users to stop; and
    • Assist the patient by offering medications to aid in quitting and/or referrals to community programs such as the Nevada Tobacco Users Helpline at 1-800 QUIT NOW.

Information targeting youth and family services providers

  • Provide coaches, youth and recreation program providers, child care providers and others working with information to provide to youth and families about the dangers of tobacco use and second-hand smoke.
  • Provide organizations that serve youth (e.g. Boys and Girls Clubs, Parks and Recreation Centers, etc.) with information appropriate to youth and parents
  • Provide coaches, instructors and administrators of sports in which smokeless tobacco products are commonly used by adults (e.g. baseball, rodeo, ) with information about the dangers and consequences of smokeless tobacco

Information Targeting Policy Makers

  • Submit personalized, hard-copy letters to politicians about the importance of tobacco use prevention legislation (in addition to e-mails).
  • Initiate briefings that encourage programmatic buy-in from politicians, healthcare providers, pharmacists, law enforcement personnel and employers.
  • Coordinate youth presentations to policy boards (e.g. school board, city council, county superintendants)

Finally, coalitions can create a Communication and Public Awareness Work Group to create and disseminate the Information to the various audiences.  The Work Group can:

  • Consist of a diverse group of community members to assist with efforts, including healthcare professionals, faith-based, civic leaders, law enforcement officers, educators, youth, parents, legislators, etc.  to help craft appropriate messages for the different target populations
  • Ensure proper placement of your billboards, in urban communities, gain support from the private and small business sector to ensure placement in key areas. For rural communities, enlist the support of private land owners and farmers who will allow billboards to be placed on their property.
  • Incorporate tobacco specific information into the Coalition’s existing public awareness efforts including the use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in the Coalition’s overall prevention campaigns.
  • Collaborate with senior citizen organizations, pharmacists, healthcare providers and other agencies to do targeted outreach and communication, educating their constituency about tobacco use prevention and the value of protecting consumers and staff from second-hand and third-hand smoke exposure.