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Community Mobilization to Restrict Minors' Access to Tobacco Products

This model includes interventions that promote community-wide support for restricting minors' access to tobacco products. Interventions can include promoting community-wide education on tobacco issues, providing education to retailers about restricting the sale of tobacco to minors, and supporting policy changes that encourage tobacco sale enforcement and tobacco-free environments.

Examples of Community Mobilization Interventions

  • Communities that Care (CTC) is an evidence-based program that provides communities with tools and frameworks to identify and address behavioral health issues among adolescents. CTC involves assessing the readiness of the community to change, identifying champions and forming a board to lead the process, developing a community profile to assess community risks and strengths, creating a community action plan, and finally implementing and evaluating the plan. Extensive research demonstrates that CTC can reduce the incidence of cigarette use and smokeless tobacco initiation among adolescents. The Communities that Care Coalition in rural Franklin County and the North Quabbin region in Massachusetts reports that CTC has decreased rates of cigarette smoking among teens since the inception of the project in 2012.
  • CounterBalanceVT is an initiative of the Vermont Department of Health that seeks to address the influence of point-of-sale tobacco promotions on youth. The campaign is raising awareness about the negative impacts of point-of-sale advertising and increasing the capacity of communities to create healthier retail environments through community design and policy change.
  • Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience (PROSPER) is a model for delivering evidence-based interventions (EBIs) that focuses on community-level collaboration and capacity building. PROSPER communities select and implement school- and family-based interventions from a list of approved EBIs. Community teams receive support from their state university's Cooperative Extension System, which provides technical assistance throughout the process of program selection, implementation, and evaluation. A study showed that the PROSPER intervention group displayed significantly lower use of cigarettes in the past month than their peers in the control group.
  • REACT Montana Campaign is centered on a “teen-led, adult-guided” approach to prevent tobacco use among Montana youth. Teens are empowered to spread messages on point-of-sale marketing tactics and corporate tobacco to peers in their community. Adults support youth by advocating for youth at community events and to local organizations. A strong focus of the campaign is targeting electronic-cigarette marketing by spreading awareness of the adverse health effects of this new form of tobacco use. A helpful tool used by the group is the Montana Tobacco Retailer Mapper, a mobile application developed by the Montana Department of Health, which illustrates proximity of tobacco retailers to schools and tobacco retailer's compliance rates on youth tobacco sales. Youth involved in the program also have the opportunity to discuss tobacco control policies with local legislators in Washington, D.C.

Considerations for Implementation

This model requires the collaboration of several community partners, including local governments, community- and faith-based organizations, businesses, civic groups, and schools. Program planners may need to hold regular meetings for key partners and regularly update other stakeholders through email, newsletters, or presentations. Planners may also need to organize stakeholders into separate workgroups that focus on meeting certain objectives.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs User Guide is an important resource for communities establishing coalitions for community mobilization. The guide describes four key aspects of an effective coalition:

  • “A formalized structure, including formalized rules, expectations, vision, and mission;
  • A diverse membership with clearly defined roles;
  • Organized and strong leadership; and
  • A plan for sustainability”

Program Clearinghouse Examples

Resources to Learn More

Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs User Guide: Coalitions
This guide provides information about building and using coalitions as a part of a comprehensive tobacco control program.
Organization(s): Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Date: 7/2009

The Long-Term Effect of Local Policies to Restrict Retail Sale of Tobacco to Youth
This article reports on the outcomes of a multi-site intervention that mobilized rural communities to promote local laws that restricted youth's access to retail tobacco access.
Author(s): Chen, V. & Forster, J.L.
Citation: Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 8(3), 371-7
Date: 6/2006

Reducing Underage Cigarette Sales in An Isolated Community: The Effect on Adolescent Cigarette Supplies
This article describes an intervention that evaluated the impact of enforcing retail sales of cigarettes to adolescents in a rural community. The authors report that enforcement reduces access to cigarettes and may reduce adolescent smoking rates.
Author(s): Levinson, A.H. & Mickiewicz, T.
Citation: Preventive Medicine, 45(6), 447-53
Date: 12/2007

Tobacco Prevention Policy Tool
This tool provides suggestions for advocating for tobacco-related policy changes on a community level.
Organization(s): American Academy of Pediatrics, Julius B. Richmond Center of Excellence