Enlisting Parents, Teachers and Students in Tobacco Control Advocacy

Teacher, youth, and parent tobacco control advocacy program

Between 1997 and 2001, the National Education Association Health Information Network, Washington, supported a pilot project—called Kids Act to Control Tobacco! (Kids ACT!)—to increase the number of youth and parent tobacco-control advocates in Connecticut and Maryland.

The project was a partnership of the National Education Association Health Information Network and and the Connecticut and Maryland Parent Teachers Associations.

Project staff collaborated with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)-funded National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids and coalitions in Connecticut and Maryland of the RWJF-funded SmokeLess States® Program, which works on statewide strategies to reduce tobacco use through education, treatment, and policy initiatives.

Key Results:

  • The project developed and field-tested a tobacco-control advocacy curriculum in middle schools, and an advocacy guide for parents to use in speaking with their children.
  • Eighty-three teachers and 1,526 students in Maryland and 77 teachers and 1,160 students in Connecticut tested the curriculum. Feedback forms showed that 66 percent of the teachers agreed that they would teach the curriculum again; however, 53 percent reported that the activities took too much time.

Key Findings:

  • A process evaluation conducted by an independent consultant found that many students and teachers had a difficult time understanding the concept of advocacy.

Based on those findings and a literature search of youth advocacy, the project produced a revised curriculum that is based on a four-step advocacy model.