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Talking Tobacco

Interpersonal, Organizational, and Mediated Messages

Series:

Stuart L. Esrock, Kandi L. Walker and Joy L. Hart

Despite the widely recognized toll of tobacco and increasing action to curb tobacco use (e.g., increased excise taxes, smoking bans), smoking continues. Numerous messages about tobacco, smoking, and health circulate throughout society, but in spite of the prevalence of such messages and the importance of how they are constructed and interpreted, too little communication research has been dedicated to understanding and assessing tobacco-related messages. Talking Tobacco addresses the shortcoming. Featuring the work of top communication scholars, the volume advances theoretical knowledge, reviews state-of-the-art research, and shares new findings and insights on a variety of tobacco-related areas ranging from tobacco control efforts to corporate representations.
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12 Tobacco Control Partners: A Website Providing Online Technical Assistance to Local Tobacco Control Coalitions David B. Buller, Walter F. (Snip) Young, Erwin P. Bettinghaus, Julie A. Maloy, Peter A. Andersen, Ron Borland, and Joseph B. Walther

Extract

Smoking has been recognized as the leading cause of preventable death in the United States for many years (McGinnis & Foege, 1993). Declines in tobacco use over the past two decades and resulting improvements in public health have been achieved by marshaling support for strong tobacco control initiatives at both the national and local level. In countries like the United States, local governments have considerable powers to influence tobacco control and activism plays an important bottom-up role in creating support for tobacco control among community leaders (Glanz, Rimer, & Viswanath, 2008; National Cancer Institute, 2005). Sometimes activist groups “spontaneously” emerge without any external support or prompting and at other times, they develop with encouragement and support by external agencies.

Such activity tends to be most effective if disparate groups come together to form coalitions to pursue common interests (Young, Montgomery, Nycum, Burns-Martin, & Buller, 2006). Typically coalitions work within limited budgets, using local resources and sometimes limited financial and technical support from outside organizations. In Colorado, the state health department supported community “Tobacco Control Partner” coalitions that worked in local areas defined by county borders, providing technical assistance (TA) to strengthen their capacity (e.g., information about tobacco control activities elsewhere, help in forming, administering, and maintaining coalitions, and training in best practices for com- ← 186 | 187 → munity tobacco control). Providing cost-efficient TA can be challenging, especially in geographically large states with remote rural communities. In the past, most state health departments delivered TA through conferences and printed communication...

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