New Report: Putting Prevention to Work in New York City

CSS White Paper Cover ImageThe NYC Coalition for a Smoke-Free City was honored to be a part of the Communities Putting Prevention to Work Grant (CPPW), a federally funded initiative to combat obesity and tobacco use that spanned fifty communities across the United States where over fifty million people live.

As part of this grant, the Coalition provided funding at both the borough and citywide level to non-profit organizations that committed to increasing awareness in their communities of the harmful effects of tobacco use and secondhand smoke, as well as how tobacco marketing in stores at the point-of-sale perpetuates the epidemic of tobacco-related disease.

Five organizations with varying levels of experience in tobacco control became leaders in the fight against smoking through this grant: the American Lung Association of the Northeast, Asian Americans for Equality, the Community Service Society, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, and the New York Public Research Interest Group.

These organizations worked with the Coalition to attend community board meetings, talk with local leaders and other non-profits, write letters-to-the-editor, and develop strategies and content to reach specific populations.  Each organization took a unique approach and created content that spoke to different audiences.

  • The American Lung Association coordinated the “Take a Walk in Our Shoes” event series, which joined local youth with key stakeholders to highlight the amount of tobacco marketing  NYC youth see every day just walking to and from school.
  • Asian Americans for Equality worked with their youth leadership group to conduct observational research on tobacco sales in pharmacies, which culminated in the report: “Prescription for a Healthy City.”
  • The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center worked with their youth program to design and conduct a peer survey and raise awareness in their community. Based on their findings, they developed  materials that would resonate with their peers and organized a well-attended event to engage young people around the issue of targeted tobacco marketing.
  • The New York Public Interest Research Group provided an assortment of community education trainings for Coalition partners and created a tobacco-specific community education toolkit.

Grant projects such as these sometimes run the risk of having a short-lasting impact – great work is done, contacts and partnerships are established, but something is missing to tie everything together.  Recognizing this gap of synthesizing lessons learned from these projects, The Community Service Society of New York authored a comprehensive white paper on these CPPW projects including recommendations and lessons learned from the groups themselves.  We hope this helps not only to promote the work that has been done here in New York City, but also to encourage other communities to create similar events, reports, and youth projects that are able to replicate and surpass what the Coalition accomplished under this grant.

The NYC Coalition is committed to encouraging environmental change at the community level.  Our community partners are crucial to our success and reach.