My morning workshop for the 3 days of this institute is on legal strategies, particularly Using Public Health Law to Seize Opportunities in Tobacco Control Policy.
Now that we’re almost done with day 2, let me shoot off a few highlights of the great info that’s been bandied around. We’ve got reps from about 25 states in the room, all swapping strategies that they’re using on the homefront.
Here are just a few of the legal strategies being pursued at the state level, I knew about some, but some were brand new to me.
- excise tax increases (Tip: base on price, not weight. Add caveats to avoid ‘2 for 1’ offers to get around this.)
- clean air laws
- clean air park or playground laws
- lots of buzz on clean air in public housing projects
- mandating state insurers provide comprehensive coverage for cessation services
- mandated tobacco retailer education classes
- restrictions on local marketing (<- apparently FDA regulation gives lots of room for this. Think cigs should be out of sight.)
- sales bans in particular venues
- mandated increased insurance premiums for smokers
- prosecutions/penalties for sales violations
Anyone know what a ‘powerwall’ is? It’s the solid wall of tobacco ads and cigarettes at retailers. We’re even hearing that at some retailers where they’ve banned ads, the boxes are being arranged to convey a message. Sneaky, eh?
Some folks were talking about how policymakers at their state level were former tobacco industry staff, which pretty much um, trumps their best efforts. Makes me think of a strategy being used in California by LGBT advocates, of focusing on getting the LGBT-connected legislators to agree they will stop taking tobacco funding…. sounds like if other states encouraged all their community groups to do this, we might be able to neutralize the tobacco industry influence at more of the policy level! I know Naphtali Offen, Bob Gordon and others in CA have been doing this work, maybe we can ask them to do a short guest post on how it’s worked for them.
I got to sit down with reps from WA, WY, and MS and talk about marketing, heard some really interesting stuff that they’re doing locally.
Mississippi has some interesting youth prevention campaigns, Reject All Tobacco aims at younger schoolkids, but is also running another for middle and high schoolers called GenerationFree that includes games and merch you can earn by building up points by participating. Reminds me how Legacy said their mini games were used lots on the web, sometimes on their site, sometimes by placing them on other sites. I want some LGBT-focused mini games we can pass around, anyone know a game designer?
Wyoming showed some savvy, after coming FDA bans on promotion at family events pushed the tobacco industry to bail from the big local rodeos, Wyoming tobacco control moved in to replace their sponsorship with cessation/prevention ads instead! (lesson learned: make sure you negotiate to be only tobacco related advertiser, or you might find yourself next to snuff ads too). They’ve developed the We Draw The Line campaign, which nicely, is integrating several health issues. Word is Wyoming is already starting to bundle lots of health issues, like at the school level, they’re just starting to combine tobacco prevention and youth suicide and other prevention behaviors into one bundle, which means there’s broader opportunity for us to just get one combined campaign to include LGBT outreach, not bunches of different ones.
And Washington state was happy to announce their “Dear Me” campaign has just won a National Award for Excellence in Ads, a very rare phenom for a public service announcement. Looks like 11 states are using this campaign so far. Sad reality is, Washington state had their own media campaign cut, so it’s hardly running on the homefront. Nicely for us, Washington State is one of the ones that runs a statewide LGBT network, along with other associated disparity networks. I know they’ve generated some great lessons learned from years of that work.
Washington State Department of Health – “Dear Me – Vance” – :60 – USA
And that’s my report for now! More as I learn it!Best, Scout Network Director