After States Settle with Big Tobacco, Antismoking Advocates Fight Complacency

Health Policy Leadership Fellows Program

From 1998 to 2001, the Advocacy Institute, Washington, developed an advanced leadership program for state and local advocates in tobacco control.

The program was intended to help tobacco-control leaders confront an array of new challenges that have been spurred in part by an influx of new funds from state settlements with tobacco companies and other sources.

Key Results

  • The Advocacy Institute:

    • Conducted a strategic analysis of the opportunities and challenges facing the tobacco-control movement.
    • Developed a computer listserv bringing together some 85 people working to prevent diversion of tobacco settlement money to other causes.
    • Designed and conducted a six-day pilot Leadership Fellows Program for veteran state and local tobacco-control leaders in 1999, 2000 and 2001. The curriculum included leadership development, strategy planning, diversity and inclusivity, electoral opportunities, media advocacy, conflict resolution and coalition building.
    • Produced a report on networking opportunities for alumni of the institute's leadership program.
    • Conducted a needs assessment of the training and leadership development opportunities available to the public health community.

Key Conclusions

  • In its strategic analysis, the Advocacy Institute noted that:

    • The tobacco-control movement possesses a deep reservoir of veteran advocates, but some of its original inspiration and energy have diminished as the movement has grown.
    • High-profile coverage of the landmark settlement with tobacco companies has left many Americans believing erroneously that the problem has been solved.
    • The settlement has spurred renewed collaboration as advocates join together or fight to prevent diversion of settlement funds to unrelated causes.