Presentation on theme: "Working with Faith Communities on Tobacco Control Issues Jayne Mardock, American Lung Association ANR’s Clearing the Air Institute II Falling Leaf Lake,"— Presentation transcript:
Working with Faith Communities on Tobacco Control Issues Jayne Mardock, American Lung Association ANR’s Clearing the Air Institute II Falling Leaf Lake, CA June 2, 2004
Why Work with the Faith Community? They have legitimate moral authority They have access to hundreds (or maybe millions) of people They have regular gathering places and meetings that you can tap into You want broader, more diverse coalition partners
Why Not You don’t speak their language You haven’t been successful in the past in getting them involved They aren’t very political and shy away from advocacy You don’t know where to begin
Pitfalls to Avoid Missing the pitch – think about what excites them, not necessarily what excites you Rent-a-Pastor – you only include them for the photo op or quote People power – the clergy is great, but the congregation is greater All in your head – don’t be afraid to talk your heart and be personal
Natural Partners United Methodist Church Seventh Day Adventist Church Presbyterian Church USA United Church of Christ Union of Reform Judaism Islam/Muslim societies
Religious Themes related to Tobacco Use Love of neighbor Love of self Care for the vulnerable Care for children and the unborn Killing and murder Addiction Waste of money
Love of Neighbor One way to care for others is to protect them from the harms of tobacco smoke. Environmental tobacco smoke inflicts toxic chemicals on your “neighbor” and can cause death as well as illness and discomfort. Subjecting someone to tobacco smoke is selfish and inconsiderate.
Love of Self Honor God’s creation by not treating it to the harms in tobacco smoke. Body is a temple to be cared for. You are not your own, but bought at a price. We have a greater responsibility and are called to a higher standard of self-control in regard to things not beneficial to us
Care for the Vulnerable Tobacco industry targets poor, minority and underserved communities Rates of youth smoking higher in targeted communities Tobacco control is a justice issue When you care for the least of these, you care for me.
Care for Children and the Unborn Tobacco smoke is especially harmful to the fetus and child because they are still developing Children and youth are targeted by tobacco companies to replace adult smokers who will become ill and die from the habit Children don’t choose their environments and are forced to live in a smoking section
Killing and murder Central prohibition in all religions against killing or murder Smoking kills not just the tobacco user but those who are in breathing range of smoker Given the known health risks and mortality, smoking is a slow form of suicide
Addiction It’s a habit that is harmful to the body Our actions are a testimony to the world Do not be conformed by the world, but be transformed so you will be a living witness God gives us strength to overcome this addiction
Wasting Money We need to be better stewards of our resources and money The money spent on tobacco products can be used for things that promote good
More Strategic Thinking What do you want to accomplish? –Engage a larger public to build momentum –Pass specific legislation/initiative Who are the religious leaders in your community? Are there dominant faith traditions that have more influence? Where do key officials worship?
Using your Contacts Yourself, staff and board contacts with various congregations Smoking cessation classes, especially those in church buildings Religious hospitals and health facilities Interfaith groups that focus on social issues
Building on Relationships What do they need to be better advocates – training, materials, resources? How can you help them engage the larger congregation/denomination? Are there other programs, such as cessation classes, or new mothers groups that you could support with programs?
Faith Not Tobacco Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids has brought together national religious denominations and organizations on a national statement and other advocacy Target states include: CO, CT, IN, NJ, OH, OR, VA, potential expanding into NC www.FaithNotTobacco.org
Faith United Against Tobacco Letters to President Bush and Senator Kerry from 20 national religious leader Asks for FDA authority over tobacco claims and advertising Increase the tobacco tax and use money for cessation and child health care For our children’s sake, we urge you
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the American Lung Association works to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung diseases and breathing problems are the leading causes of infant deaths in the United States today, and asthma is the leading serious chronic childhood illness. Smoking remains the nation’s leading preventable cause of death. Lung disease death rates continue to increase while other leading causes of death have declined. The American Lung Association has long funded vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. It is the foremost defender of the Clean Air Act and laws that protect citizens from secondhand smoke. The Lung Association teaches children the dangers of tobacco use and helps teenage and adult smokers overcome addiction. It educates children and adults living with lung diseases on managing their condition. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Improving life, one breath at a time.” For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to www.lungusa.org.