December 2008

Grant Results

SUMMARY

From 2001 to 2007, the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation in Berkeley, Calif., conducted a series of educational and communications activities to increase public awareness of the hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke and to expand the capacity of the smoke-free policy movement.

Central to the effort were four conferences designed to increase the knowledge and skills of smoke-free advocates from across the country. Entitled Clearing the Air: An Institute for Policy Advocacy, the sessions trained participants to educate policy-makers, restaurant owners and other business interests on the benefits of smoke-free restrictions.

Key Results

  • A total of 507 individuals from across the nation received training in smoke-free advocacy at the four conferences.
  • Staff delivered a total of 29 trainings and presentations at other conferences, meetings and workshops.
  • Staff displayed exhibits on the benefits of smoke-free public places at 44 hospitality industry conferences and other events and distributed approximately 60,000 educational brochures targeting owners of restaurants and related businesses.
  • Staff members counted 4,500 instances in which they provided technical assistance by telephone and e-mail to public health professionals, advocates and others working on smoke-free policies and related campaigns.

Funding
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the work from August 2001 through October 2007 with two grants totaling $2,471,114.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
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THE PROBLEM

Secondhand tobacco smoke — also called environmental tobacco smoke — contains chemicals known to be toxic and carcinogenic. Exposure can cause lung cancer in nonsmoking adults and increase the risk of asthma and other respiratory diseases among children, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned in 1992.

Contending that separating smokers and nonsmokers is insufficient, tobacco-control advocates pushed for laws requiring restaurants, bars, hotels and other public places to be 100 percent smoke free.

The tobacco industry fought smoke-free restrictions, arguing that ventilation systems could clear smoke from indoor spaces and protect nonsmokers. The hospitality industry, fearful of losing customers, generally resisted smoke-free policies as well.

In 2001, the American Nonsmoker's Rights Foundation — a nonprofit organization in Berkeley, Calif., that provides educational resources on smoking issues — sought funding from RWJF to strengthen the national smoke-free advocacy effort.

The organization was particularly interested in countering the perception that smoke-free policies result in reduced revenue for restaurants and other businesses — a perception that the group attributed to tobacco industry "misinformation."

(The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, which does not lobby, is a sister organization of Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights, a national lobbying organization on tobacco-control issues.)

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RWJF STRATEGY

Since the Foundation entered the field of tobacco control in the early 1990s, RWJF has worked to help reduce the prevalence of tobacco use — funding research to learn which policies and programs are most effective, as well as focusing public attention and fostering action on policies aimed at preventing people from starting to smoke and helping current smokers quit.

The Foundation's efforts have concentrated on strengthening and expanding policy changes that have been shown to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use, including higher tobacco prices, comprehensive clean indoor air (or smoke-free) policies, the coverage of tobacco cessation treatments by Medicare and Medicaid and systems changes necessary for physicians to engage in tobacco cessation efforts with their patients.

RWJF has supported more than 1,350 grants related to tobacco use in three main strategic areas:

  • Policy Research — RWJF helped build the field of tobacco policy research. That research identified the most effective public policies that reduce tobacco use. Projects have focused on smoke-free policies and include:
  • Policy Advocacy — RWJF has developed and supported community-based and state-level advocacy efforts that built support for tobacco control policies. RWJF also provided technical assistance to policy-makers and advocates working for tobacco control policies. Programs in this area include:
    • SmokeLess States® National Tobacco Policy Initiative. See Grant Results. The program focused on tobacco taxes and clean indoor air laws.
    • National Tobacco Control Technical Assistance Consortium. See Grant Results.
    • Tobacco Policy Change: A Collaborative for Healthier Communities and States. This program provides resources and technical assistance for community, regional and national organizations and tribal groups advocating for effective tobacco prevention and cessation policy initiatives.
    • Policy Advocacy on Tobacco or Health. This program provided resources and technical assistance for community-based organizations and tribal groups advocating for effective tobacco prevention and cessation policy initiatives. Training included community organizing, fund development and media advocacy.
  • Communications and Public Education — RWJF supported media campaigns and other public education efforts that helped build support for tobacco control policies. These include:
    • Audience Research and Communications to Increase Public Awareness and Action for Tobacco Control.
    • Campaigns to support Smoke-Free New Jersey, which has leveraged resources to ensure successful implementation of the New Jersey Smoke-Free Air Act.
    • Campaigns in support of its SmokeLess States program.
    • The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

RWJF also has funded tobacco cessation, focusing on identifying the most effective tobacco cessation treatments and disseminating those treatments to health care practitioners, supporting health and health care policy changes to boost access to and use of treatments and building consumer demand for effective cessation services and treatment.

For more information on the Foundation's strategy in the tobacco area, see "Taking on Tobacco," by James Bornemeier in the 2005 RWJF Anthology.

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THE PROJECT

From 2001 to 2007, the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation conducted a series of educational and communications activities to increase public awareness of the hazards of secondhand tobacco smoke and to expand the capacity of the smoke-free policy movement.

Central to the effort were four conferences designed to increase the knowledge and skills of smoke-free advocates from across the country. Entitled Clearing the Air: An Institute for Policy Advocacy, the sessions trained participants to educate policy-makers, restaurant owners and other business interests on the benefits of smoke-free restrictions.

The conferences — one each in the years 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2007 — took place at a facility near South Lake Tahoe, Calif., and lasted four days. Topics included:

  • Research on the science and economic impact of smoke-free policies.
  • Lessons learned from the successes and failures of past smoke-free campaigns.
  • Strategies for countering tobacco industry information and tactics.

Project staff developed the agenda, recruited speakers and invited participants. Staff included individuals with backgrounds in research, public health, health care and other fields, who represented local and state organizations as well as national health organizations, such as the American Cancer Society and the American Lung Association.

The staff made an effort to include participants from communities with pending smoke-free proposals. The project provided scholarships to individuals who otherwise would be unable to attend.

In addition to organizing the four conferences, staff:

  • Conducted on-site advocacy training workshops in individual communities.
  • Attended meetings of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers — an organization that develops ventilation standards for new and renovated buildings — and educated its members on secondhand smoke issues.
  • Provided technical assistance to smoke-free advocates via telephone and e-mail.

Communications

To reach owners and managers of restaurants and other hospitality businesses, project staff created nine traveling exhibit booths on the issue of smoke-free environments for use at hospitality industry conventions and trade shows.

The staff also developed and distributed brochures targeting restaurant interests. A widely distributed booklet entitled To the Health of Your Business noted that smokers are a minority of the population and that a total smoking ban could reduce costs and increase a restaurant's profits. (See the Bibliography for details of project publications.)

The staff engaged in various other communications activities, including:

  • Making presentations at health-related conferences and meetings.
  • Advising allied organizations on smoke-free advertising strategy and content.
  • Establishing a listserv to provide conference participants with updates on indoor air issues.

Funding

RWJF supported these activities from August 2001 through October 2007 with two successive grants totaling $2,471,114 (ID#s 041042 and 048090).

Six additional organizations provided funding to help support the 2007 training conference. (See Appendix 1 for the list.) Conference registration fees and technical assistance fees also helped fund portions of the grantee organization's work.

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RESULTS

The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation reported the following results of the RWJF-funded initiative:

  • A total of 507 individuals from across the nation received training in smoke-free advocacy at the four conferences. The 132 registrants at the 2007 conference, for example, represented organizations in 35 states, including institutions such as:
    • American Lung Association of Alaska
    • Flight Attendants Medical Research Institute
    • New Mexico Department of Health
    • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    For details of each conference, see Appendix 2.
  • Staff delivered a total of 29 trainings and presentations at other conferences, meetings and workshops. The total included two-and-a-half-day "advanced" workshops conducted in Casper, Wyo., and St. Louis and one-day "general" trainings in six other cities (Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Indianapolis; Montgomery, Ala.; Jackson, Miss.; and Salt Lake City).
  • Staff displayed exhibits on the benefits of smoke-free public places at 44 hospitality industry conferences and other events and distributed approximately 60,000 educational brochures targeting owners of restaurants and other hospitality businesses.
  • Staff members counted 4,500 instances in which they provided technical assistance by telephone and e-mail to public health professionals, advocates and others working on smoke-free policies and related campaigns.
  • The North American Smokefree Casino Taskforce — created by project staff to develop and share educational resources on the benefits of smoke-free casinos — had 55 members from 18 states and two Canadian provinces by the end of the RWJF grant period.

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SIGNIFICANCE TO THE FIELD

While acknowledging the difficulty of tracking the direct impact of its work, the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation cited data indicating that support for smoke-free policies grew significantly during the second of the two RWJF grants (ID# 048090), which ran from November 2004 through October 2007.

The following were among the signs of progress reported by the organization to RWJF at the end of that grant period:

  • The number of municipalities and states with 100 percent smoke-free laws for workplaces, restaurants or bars grew from 437 communities and 11 states in late 2004 to 758 municipalities and 28 states and the District of Columbia at the end of the grant period. Similarly, the percentage of the U.S. population covered by these laws increased from 35 percent to 58.6 percent during the period.
  • In October 2004, two restaurant associations supported smoke-free laws; by November 2007, there were at least 15 that did so. During that same period, the number of chambers of commerce formally supportive of smoke-free laws grew from zero to at least 22.
  • In 2005, the board of directors of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers unanimously adopted a new position document on secondhand smoke stating that ventilation cannot eliminate the health dangers posed by secondhand smoke, and smoking does not belong indoors.

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LESSONS LEARNED

  1. When seeking policy change, do not be afraid to venture into unfamiliar territory. The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation began reaching out to organizations traditionally unreceptive to its message, including the hospitality industry and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. (Project Director)
  2. Although attending meetings of these groups was uncomfortable at times, staff members found that by being persistent and providing useful and credible information, they were able to make inroads with the organizations. (Project Director)
  3. There are few shortcuts to smoke-free policy victories; it is important to take time and collaborate with partners. Problems arise when advocates want to score a quick success and as a result move too quickly and fail to communicate adequately. "Slow and steady wins the race." (Project Director)
  4. Organizing a conference in-house instead of using an outside meeting planner is time consuming but pays off in the quality of the conference. Because American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation staff members knew the field of tobacco control, they could find top speakers and recruit appropriate participants, thus increasing the utility of the conferences. (Project Director)

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AFTER THE GRANT

In November 2006, RWJF awarded the American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation an additional $3 million, 25-month grant (ID# 058339) to develop a long-term investment fund and business plan and to help the organization become sustainable.

The organization continued the Clearing the Air: Institute for Policy Advocacy conferences, holding a fifth in June 2008. However, with the hospitality industry no longer considered a major problem area, the group shifted the focus of its smoke-free education effort to casinos, according to Cynthia Hallett, M.P.H., executive director of the organization and director of the RWJF-funded project.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Establishment of the Institute for Advocacy on Environmental Tobacco Smoke

Grantee

American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation (Berkeley,  CA)

  • Establishment of the Institute for Advocacy on Environmental Tobacco Smoke
    Amount: $ 971,114
    Dates: August 2001 to December 2004
    ID#:  041042

  • Enhancing and Sustaining Smoke-Free Environments
    Amount: $ 1,500,000
    Dates: November 2004 to October 2007
    ID#:  048090

Contact

Cynthia D. Hallett, M.P.H.
(510) 841-3045
cynthia.hallett@no-smoke.org

Web Site

http://www.anrf.org

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APPENDICES


Appendix 1

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Additional Supporters of the 2007 Conference

The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation reported that the following organizations provided sponsorship funding for the 2007 Institute for Policy Advocacy conference:

  • American Cancer Society, Washington — $7,800
  • American Legacy Foundation, Washington — $3,500
  • Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute, Miami — $10,000
  • Healthcare Georgia Foundation, Atlanta — $2,000
  • Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, Lincoln, Neb. — $4,500
  • Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, Oakland, Calif. — $5,000


Appendix 2

(Current as of the time of the grant; provided by the grantee organization; not verified by RWJF.)

Training Conferences

The American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation reported the following dates, attendance and program information for the four Clearing the Air: Institute for Policy Advocacy conferences (all four were held at the Stanford Sierra Conference Center near South Lake Tahoe, Calif.):

  • October 25–28, 2002: 120 participants from 31 states; 14 presentations, 6 plenary sessions and 1 workshop.
  • June 1–4, 2004: 128 participants from 31 states.
  • September 12–15, 2005: 127 participants from 29 states and the District of Columbia; 5 plenary sessions and 14 workshops.
  • June 2–5, 2007: 132 registrants representing organizations in 35 states; 3 plenary sessions and 15 workshops.

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Reports

To the Health of Your Business. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2002, 2003. Available online.

Here's to a Healthy Business. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2003.

Live Tobacco Free or Die. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2003.

Smokefree Oklahoma Restaurants. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2003.

Fundamentals of Smokefree Workplace Laws. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2007. Available online.

Determining Your Dealbreakers. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2007. Available online.

Audio-Visuals and Computer Software

Clearing the Air: An Institute for Policy Advocacy II: Follow-up Materials, background information on how to make policy changes to ensure 100 percent smoke-free public places on CD-ROM. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2004.

Clearing the Air: An Institute for Policy Advocacy III: Comprehensive Resource Materials, background information on how to make policy changes to ensure 100 percent smoke-free public places on CD-ROM. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2005.

Clearing the Air: An Institute for Policy Advocacy IV: Comprehensive Resource Materials, background information on how to make policy changes to ensure 100 percent smoke-free public places on CD-ROM. Berkeley, Calif.: American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, 2007.

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Report prepared by: Susan G. Parker
Reviewed by: Michael Brown
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Michelle A. Larkin

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