274675 Smokefree Progress in California: The Role of Grassroots Advocacy

Monday, October 29, 2012 : 2:55 PM - 3:10 PM

Cynthia Hallett, MPH , Executive Director, American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, CA
This presentation will review the history of the nonsmokers' rights movement and the role of advocates in initiating a policy strategy that evolved over the past four decades. While the role of advocacy in public health has been acknowledged, it has not been sufficiently documented in the literature in part because ordinary citizens initiated the movement. Case in point is the early days of the nonsmokers' rights movement when local citizens acted on their own concerns about smoke in their workplaces by organizing in living rooms and libraries across the state to seek solutions to the unwanted exposure to cigarette smoke. In addition, an overview of the role of nonsmokers' rights advocacy from the 1970's when there was little to no science base about the health hazards of secondhand smoke to nonsmokers, no “best practice” solutions or model policies, and no funding for tobacco control programs through the late 1980's – 1990's when both the science base and financial resources grew to support tobacco control programs and services, to present day where finances are leaner and the role of tobacco control advocates to sustain the movement during lean times critical. Policy accomplishments and the resultant public health benefits and the decline in smoking prevalence will be reviewed, as well as the important role of ongoing advocacy from a “non-funded” base of committed nonsmokers' rights advocates who have the ability to advocate and lobby when funded governmental agencies or organizations funded with government funds cannot, and who sustain the movement over time.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Understand the role of advocates in the history of nonsmokers’ rights movement. Reiterate the public health benefits of smokefree policies on health (e.g., heart attack rates). Identify ways to engage advocates in other public health campaigns.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: My career in tobacco control began in 1989 and my background in tobacco policy advocacy is wide-ranging. I spearheaded successful smokefree air campaigns as well as provided technical assistance and strategic guidance in support of smokefree air and public health policy efforts across the U.S. and internationally. I am currently the Executive Director of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights (ANR) and the ANR Foundation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.