Learning Objectives: Identify the reasoning behind and the how to's of a three year program in developing and implementing a youth tobacco prevention, education and advocacy training.
Abstract: The three-year Smokebusters endeavor has been instrumental in forming our youth into effective environmental policy advocates. Working with the same group of youth for three years helps them take ownership of tobacco prevention and environmental issues within their community and state. Smokebusters utilized a three phase approach that with the assistance of schools and community organizations helped to educate over 250 youth from twenty different northeast Missouri schools in tobacco use prevention. The first year, students are trained in Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) which enables them to go back into their communities to present educational anti-tobacco activities. At the training students learn what is in tobacco, the deception of tobacco ads, and a mock city council meeting is held to help students learn how to approach boards with tobacco issues. In the second year phase, the students focus on working with the media. Students learn more tobacco facts, and how to organize facts that will produce effective radio, TV, and print messages. The last year, students focus on government, why and how to contact your political officials, as well as the importance of the MSA. Through this three year program, students presented mentoring programs to other students in their school, several approached their school boards regarding smoke free campus policies, and others produced ten different public service announcements. Numerous student-designed billboards were displayed on school grounds and all students wrote state political leaders concerning anti-tobacco issues.
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