Youth Engagement Toolkit

I Have A Group

Advocacy Activities

Active Art Show:

Use all of your artwork from the Awareness Activity "Target! Artwork" to create an Active Art Show. The concept behind an active art show is that the artists are there talking about their art pieces and members of your group are there handing out information and educating viewers about the issue.

Find a place in your community that has a lot of people (downtown, near a convention center, etc.) or if there is a local festival going on see if you can get a booth space. The more people that you can draw in to your art show, the better.

Store Policies:

Even though many retail stores sell tobacco products because they are part of a franchise or chain of stores, their local management can still make some decisions about tobacco ads on their property. Draft a sample policy agreement and start talking to business owners (stores, restaurants, bowling alleys, etc.) about moving their advertisements off the counter and away from the cash registers.

This activity ties into the Action Activity "Store Policy Publication".

Store Alert Changes:

After you've completed Operation Store Alert, look through your results and select 5 or 10 stores that need to make the most changes. Set up a time to go talk to the owner or manager and present your findings to them. Encourage them to consider the age range of their customers and the placements of all of their advertisements.

This is a great opportunity to let them know about the changes that are coming with the new FDA regulations so they can get a head start on implementing those changes. You can even leave a one-page handout with them that they can give to all of their employees about tobacco industry marketing.

If you are interested in participating in Operation Store Alert, please contact TxSSC for more information and training materials.

Letter to the Editor: Change is coming!

Sending a letter to the editor of your local paper is a very simple and effective task, especially if it gets published! When writing your letter, remember to include factual information about the topic (i.e. the new warning labels, new testing systems, restrictions on false health claims) and be brief! A good letter to the editor can say everything it needs to in 250-300 words. It is also more likely to get published if it is shorter.

Other things to remember:

  • Include your name, address, email address and phone number at the top of your letter
  • proof read your letter
  • make your point quickly, newspaper stories get cut from the bottom first.

Get an outline Letter to the Editor.

Store Memorandum of Agreement: Label Designs

A memorandum of agreement is the paper form of a handshake. If your group holds a warning label design contest then the next step is to let people see the designs! Talk to your local convenience store owners and see if they will sign a memorandum of agreement to let you display the winning labels near their tobacco products.

Once you have several designs that you think will make people think twice about buying a pack of cigarettes, blow them up and print them on large paper or poster boards to hang in your local stores.

School Administration Presentation:

Now that you've got your PSA scripted and ready to go, find out who you need to talk to in your school's administration to start broadcasting on the school radio station, TV station, during morning announcements, etc. You might also talk to the community television and radio stations to see if they would be willing to give you some air time.

Have your school administration or local stations sign a memorandum of agreement guaranteeing time for your PSA to be seen or heard.

This activity ties in to the Action Activity"Broadcast".

Petition - Take the power out of "Power Walls":

A lot of groups use pledge walls or banners to gather signatures of people who pledge to be tobacco free. Those are great tools to gather attention and support, but they aren't very useful after the event. A petition isn't as flashy but can be used in so many ways. Have people sign a petition in support of eliminating "Power Walls" of tobacco products in convenience stores.

Ways to use your petition:

  • take it to city council in support of an ordinance
  • use them to convince business owners to adopt a smoke-free policy.

Get a sample petition.

Restaurant Meeting:

An important part of advocacy is getting people in your community to support you and your ideas. A great way to get a lot of people on your side is to host a meeting for all of the restaurant owners to talk about smoke-free dining policies.

At the meeting you can present information about the issue, ask for people to support your group (i.e. hosting smoke-free nights, adopting a no tobacco policy etc.) and give the community owners a change to talk about the issue from their perspective.

Ideas for a community meeting topic:

  • give a very brief (5-10 minutes) presentation about the dangers of secondhand smoke
  • talk about the benefits of passing a clean indoor air
  • discuss the benefits of having smoke free businesses.