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The Youth-Driven Tobacco Policy Change Pilot Study

Funding Agency: University of California Office of the President, Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program

Dates: 1999-2000

Co-Principal Investigators: Norm Constantine and Cyndi Simpson (Contra Costa County Department of Health Services)

(This project was based at WestEd.) With funding from the California Department of Health Services Tobacco Control Section, the Tobacco Industry Gets Hammered by Teens (TIGHT) youth program was created in 1997 through the Contra Costa County Department of Health Services as a youth-driven effort to: (1) develop teams of youth with the capacity to recognize and counter tobacco industry targeting in their communities; (2) work with policy and decision makers to develop and implement effective ordinances and policies to reduce youth access to tobacco; and (3) develop youth leadership skills (e.g., public speaking, problem solving, action planning) and resilience. TIGHT's organizational structure is designed to maximize youth development. The Project Coordinator serves as an adult mentor and trainer to young adult Regional Coordinators in each of four County regions. The Regional Coordinators, along with paid high school age Youth Outreach Workers, recruit and train high school age Youth Advocates in community organizing, decision making, planning and advocacy. To date, TIGHT has been successful in passing a county-wide and several individual city tobacco-free youth ordinances (TFYO). Anecdotal evidence and preliminary evaluation data also suggest that the program has been successful in supporting the positive development of participating youth.

This first-year pilot study of TIGHT was to develop data collection and data analysis strategies and collect preliminary data in preparation for submission of a three-year community-academic research award (CARA) proposal to TRDRP. Our ultimate goals were to document and better understand the dynamics and results of youth activism in changing local tobacco policies and to identify positive effects on the youth activists. A full study has not to date been funded.

Click here to download a copy of our 1999 Society for Prevention Research symposium paper about TIGHT.