Resources for anti-tobacco advocates
If you’re looking for more information on TRU advocacy issues of focus and activities for TRU Storms and tobacco-free holidays, then you’ve come to the right place. Within this Advocacy Toolkit, you will find various resources for TRU Youth and Advisors to learn more about how to be an advocate in your community. These materials include infographics, flyers, activities and even an Advocacy 101 Webinar Training. These resources will be updated periodically. Enjoy!
How to Become a Great Advocate
STEP 1: GET EDUCATED
The first step to becoming an advocate is to understand your advocacy issue. It’s important to educate yourself so that you are able to talk confidently to lawmakers and others about the topic. Your advocacy issues of focus can include things like MSA Funding (tobacco prevention and control funding for our programs), Clean Indoor Air Policies, Point of Sale, or even E-Cigarettes.
Thanks to the efforts of our TRU members, our 2019 advocacy issue of focus, Tobacco 21, passed nationwide in December 2019! This means that TRU members accomplished their goal of raising the tobacco sales age to 21.
- MSA Infographic: Find out more about tobacco control funding in PA
- Watch our MSA Funding video
STEP 2: TALK TO PEOPLE
When you are ready to meet with lawmakers, start by learning who your elected officials are and how to contact them. (Check out the link below to find your representatives!) It is always a good idea to research the person you are going to meet with beforehand to find out the issues they support and anything you may have in common. Knowing this information may help you connect with them about your advocacy topic.
- Find your legislator here: PACTonline.org/search-for-your-representative
STEP 3: TAKE ACTION
Once you know your issue and who you want to talk to, it’s time to find a way to make sure your voice is heard! You can do this in many ways, including:
- Get involved in TRU Storms
- Start a movement on social media. You can do this by creating a hashtag to start a movement, such as #SaveMSAinPA to save funding for TRU!
- Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper
- Write a letter to your legislator. (Consider using this sample MSA email)
- Call your lawmaker to schedule a legislative visit or attend Day at the Capitol
STEP 4: ALWAYS ASK
The key to speaking with your lawmaker is always asking for their support, no matter what! An example of an “ask” would be:
“Do you support funding tobacco prevention and control programs at the CDC-recommended level?”
It’s also important to ask for the support of the family, friends, classmates and community members you talk to about these advocacy issues. You might ask them to share your social media posts about the issue, hang up posters, or help spread the word in other ways.
STEP 5: LET'S PRACTICE!
Start putting your advocacy knowledge to work using these resources:
TRU Media Templates
Contact: [Regional Leader][XXX-XXX-XXXX][email@example.com]
MONTH XX, 2013
[REGION] Launches Tobacco Resistance Unit Youth Movement
Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco debuts TRU youth movement in PA to prevent peers from tobacco use
[CITY, PA] – The Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU) is a brand new youth movement throughout the state to protect Pennsylvania’s youth from all tobacco and nicotine products, through community outreach, education, prevention and cessation. The movement has been started by the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT) to get young Pennsylvanians from the [region] to help peer educate their friends and classmates about the truth behind tobacco.
The [REGION] serving [County Names] counties have started a TRU Regional Unit in the area. Students ranging from ages 12-18 have joined together with one vision: for all Pennsylvanian youth to be tobacco- and nicotine-free.
The facts speak for themselves:
130,400 Pennsylvania high school students smoke
17,300 youth in Pennsylvania will become new daily smokers every year
858,000 young Pennsylvanians will be exposed to secondhand smoke at home
300,000 kids now under 18 and alive in Pennsylvania will ultimately die prematurely from smoking
TRU is committed to prevent youth from ever starting to use tobacco, and helping those who do smoke –quit. Young Pennsylvanians do not know about the very real dangers of tobacco-use; TRU aims to teach them. Another big threat to youth is smokeless tobacco and cigars. Products like chewing tobacco and snus can cause cancer of the mouth and are NOT a safe alternative to smoking. “TRU is committed to preventing tobacco and nicotine use by Pennsylvania youth and exposing Big Tobacco’s lies,” says PACT executive director Joy Blankley Meyer. “We know that through education, social media and community outreach we can connect with youth in a meaningful way, and change behaviors. And that means we will be saving lives and healthcare dollars.”
To join TRU or for more information, visit TRUinPA.org
Positive direction, powerful action.
Letter to the Editor
To the editor,
I’m a young Pennsylvanian and I am part of a movement – a movement that will preserve the health and save the lives of thousands of Pennsylvanians. We call ourselves the Tobacco Resistance Unit (TRU) and we want to expose the truth about the dangers of tobacco-use and prevent youth just like me from ever starting to use tobacco.
You see, over 130,000 Pennsylvania high school students are smokers and we need to help them to quit. More importantly, we are committed to prevent youth from ever starting to use tobacco. The moment you take a drag of a cigarette your airways tighten and get irritated, causing you to cough, hack, and produce more phlegm. These are things that not all young Pennsylvanians know. We want to teach them. Another big threat to our youth is smokeless tobacco and cigars. Products like chewing tobacco and snus can cause cancer of the mouth and are NOT a safe alternative to smoking? Join us to spread the TRUth. Visit TRUinPA.org to learn more and get involved.