Partnerships with Local Stakeholders
Local partnerships can be critical to effectively decreasing rates of tobacco use and preventing
initiation of tobacco use in a rural community. It is important to secure buy-in from respected
leaders and existing networks of local stakeholders in the community who may be interested in
supporting tobacco prevention and cessation efforts.
Local businesses can be especially important partners in tobacco cessation efforts, as many
people are exposed
to secondhand smoke in the workplace, and tobacco use can reduce
suggests that consumers may be
unaware of tobacco cessation services that are covered by their insurance.
Employers can play a role by providing information to employees about their health plan's coverage for tobacco
cessation counseling and pharmacotherapy.
Program planners may also ask local businesses and community-and faith-based organizations to display
educational information about the state quitline, details about cessation resources in the community,
or messaging about tobacco prevention.
Some rural communities form or join formal tobacco control coalitions in order to share limited resources, build
support, and create united strategies for policy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention developed
a guide about tobacco
coalitions that describes characteristics of effective coalitions.
Partnerships with State Tobacco Control Programs and Public Health Agencies
Local tobacco cessation and prevention programs may choose to partner with state-wide tobacco control
programs in order to capitalize on existing resources and share consistent messaging. For example,
rural communities have found that mass-reach communications efforts are most effective when there is
a “united voice” across the state.
Through a joint effort, North Dakota was successful in
implementing tobacco prevention media messages through TV and radio advertisements, press releases,
and event participation. The North Dakota Center for Tobacco
Prevention and Control Policy (BreatheND) worked with local public health units
across the state to focus on the denormalization of tobacco through mass media to meet the goal of
changing the social norm of tobacco use. While each local public health unit had different
priorities, such as tobacco-free parks or tobacco-free multi-unit housing, the center provided tools
and resources to the local public health units to address these priorities. Mass media efforts were
co-branded with the local public health unit and BreatheND.
Program planners may also attempt to facilitate relationships between state quitlines and local
healthcare providers. Rural clinics with limited resources to provide tobacco cessation services may
benefit from referring patients to quitlines that can provide telephone counseling and assistance
with accessing tobacco cessation medication. However, some rural providers may be hesitant to refer
their patients to services outside of the community. Additional information about the quitline's
services and medications that they can offer may help address the concerns of rural providers.
Partnerships with National Organizations
National organizations focused on tobacco issues—including the American
Lung Association and the American Cancer
Society can partner with rural communities to promote tobacco prevention and
cessation activities. Local chapters of these organizations can provide resources and tools to rural
communities with limited funding for tobacco control activities.