Online Program

Protecting those who served: Smoke-free air policies in local veteran's organizations in Indiana

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 5:30 p.m. - 5:50 p.m.

Monique Hill-French, M.P.H, Indiana State Department of Health-Tobacco Prevention & Cessation Commission, Indianapolis, IN
Katy Ellis, MPH, Chronic Disease, Marion County Public Health Department-Chronic Disease, Indianapolis, IN
India Anderson, Indiana Black Expo, Indianapolis, IN
Issue: Tobacco remains high among the veteran population. Quitting tobacco is difficult because of their tobacco-friendly culture. The Indiana state smoke-free air law requires all private and veteran organizations to vote on whether or not to institute a no smoking policy. Consequentially, many veterans that frequent these organizations are still being exposed to secondhand smoke. Description: The Indiana tobacco control program provided several trainings focusing on the military and veteran culture and how to engage veterans as policy advocates. After attending trainings and receiving supplemental materials, the Indianapolis tobacco control coalition successfully forged relationships with veteran's organizations. Relationship development included attending Veteran's Day Parades, visiting the Veteran Affairs Medical Center, and presenting information at local veteran organizations. This engagement led to success in recruiting veterans to write letters to the editor, sending personal letters to the Indianapolis mayor, and reaching appropriate decision-making officials in veteran organizations. As a result, the Indianapolis American Legion Posts 34 and 249 voted in favor of a no smoking policy. Lesson Learned: Understanding the military and veteran culture is critical in developing meaningful relationships. This population has a very powerful voice and can communicate the importance of this issue. However, many veterans are not willing to speak publicly in support of smoke-free air. Recommendations: Engage veterans during the planning stages of a policy campaign to ensure decision-makers understand the importance of including private and membership organizations in smoke-free air laws. Alternatively, this population may be instrumental in advocating for voluntary policies.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Define the impact tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure has on the culture of military personnel and veterans and the role of the tobacco industry's marketing and tactics beginning in World War I. Demonstrate how to develop meaningful relationships with local veterans and veteran organizations to gain knowledge on the impact of secondhand smoke and Indiana's Smoke-Free Air Law. Demonstrate how to effectively partner with local veteran organizations to establish a smoke-free air policy to protect patrons and members from the dangers of secondhand smoke.

Keyword(s): Policy/Policy Development, Tobacco Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the manager of the tobacco prevention and cessation program at Marion County Public Health Department for two years. In this work, I have focused on policy change and cessation system change in various populations.
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.