8. AdvocacyCapacity to promote policy and legislative changes
Unfortunately, relapse is the rule, not the exception for those who are trying to quit smoking. Because relapse mostly occurs when a person is surrounded by other smokers, such as in a smoke-filled bar, one may conclude, then, that if bars and other public places were smoke-free, then relapse might be the exception rather than the rule. This is where advocacy comes into play. Before changing existing laws, an advocate must know exactly what local, state, and federal laws are currently in effect. Anindividual should also know the effects of other codes or provisions that had been passed previously. This information can be used to help pass your new provision, or try and avoid any barriers that might come up in past experiences. Know the specificsfor direct and indirect costs involved for passing a new smoke-free provision, as this subject will inevitably surface in debating the new code. The legislation itself must be written in the correct legal language for it even to be considered; enlist the help of government anti-smoking agencies, which can provide templates for local, state, and federal provisions. If using these templates, consult with others to discover if there is a way to change the template for the better. Once you have the completed code, you should be able to effectively garner support from the community and surrounding areas. Form alliances with other smoking cessation, prevention, and non-smoking rights groups. Gather support from health care workers, religious leaders, local politicians, and basically anyone and everyone who may swing the vote in your favor. Know exactly which councils or boards to approach about implementing the new health regulation, and more specifically, know which members of those councils will be sympathetic to your cause for cessation legislation. Finally, include in your provision or code a clear outline of the penalties to incur should the legislation be broken; also include specific ways in which to enforce the code.
A Ability topropose new, or adapt existing, language for consideration in proposed legislation or codes
B Ability to disseminate specific and compelling information on results achieved due to changes in laws and codes introduced elsewhere
C Ability to present specific information on direct and indirect costs associated with proposed changes in laws and codes
D Ability to forge alliances in support of new code provisions or legislation
E Ability to mobilize communities to contact legislative representatives in support of specific legislation
F Ability to promote enforcement of existing laws and code provisions