Our chronic disease prevention team and the county health departments, community partners, and Pima Prevention Partnership, officially launched STAND last week. It’s a coalition of local youth groups that have banded together in a common cause against tobacco use. It’s the culmination of a three-year effort to engage more youth in the actual planning and implementation of tobacco control. Through adult and youth trainings, an annual celebratory conference, and an increased online presence via STAND Facebook and www.Standaz.com, local coalitions retain their identities while maximizing their impact on a statewide basis.
Trainings for adult coalition leaders, as well as youth coalition members, have been held regionally during both the fall and spring in Phoenix, Flagstaff and Tucson. Adult coalition leaders learn how to effectively foster youth coalition development, assist the coalition members where needed and provide additional logistical support. Individual technical assistance is provided where needed to both youth and adults. Trainings for the youth include education on advocacy, public speaking, social media and message development. A winter summit is in the works that will bring together youth to start planning for the end of the year youth tobacco coalition conference.
Building on the momentum and outcomes of the highly-successful Venomocity campaign, this represents an expansion of our youth prevention efforts that now includes youth coalition activities, prevention outreach, point-of-sale efforts including the Attorney General’s sting operations, and the FDA program. As the centralized hub of activity STAND will provide information and resources for youth and adult leaders. Facebook and YouTube sites have also been created to tap into the social media opportunity that presents itself when working with youth.
While overall use of tobacco among Arizona youth has mirrored the national trend of leveling off, Arizona has seen the single largest decrease in overall consumption (measured by teens who report smoking more than ten cigarettes per day). This new launch of intensifying youth-to-youth involvement is the result of our robust formative research in figuring out the how’s and why’s of successful interventions.