Clearing the Air

Planning for a Smokefree Campaign

Enacting a local smokefree indoor air law is the best way to protect people from secondhand smoke exposure. Local ordinance campaigns educate the community about the health effects of secondhand smoke and laws passed at the local level have high rates of compliance because people were involved in the process and understand why the law was enacted.

A successful campaign effort requires a lot of planning and organization. The public needs to be educated about the health dangers of secondhand smoke and their right to breathe smokefree air in their workplaces and in indoor public places. The coalition should work together with the local health department and other allies to strategize for the campaign; educate the public, business owners, and local lawmakers; become well-versed with the local lawmaking process; plan ahead for implementing and enforcing the ordinance; and divide up the responsibilities associated with a smokefree air campaign.

Begin by reviewing our short, free guide, Going Smokefree in Your Community and buying our comprehensive campaign guide, Clearing the Air and the Clearing the Air Addendum.

Call us at 510-841-3032 for more information on purchasing the Clearing the Air guide, or use the button below.

Starting Steps

1 - Assess Current Laws

Find out what the current smokefree law is in your community. In some instances, there may be no laws whatsoever relating to smoking control, in which case you will be starting with a clean slate.

2 - Form a Coalition

Strong coalitions accurately reflect your community. They are broad and inclusive, with meaningful representation of the people and organizations most affected by secondhand smoke in workplaces, multi-unit housing, and public venues.

3 - Establish a Database of Supporters

Establish a database of contact information, not only for coalition members and supporters, but also for community organizations, business leaders, public officials, and the media. Keep names, addresses, and email information in one database.

4 - Educate Your Community

Educate then legislate! Before going public with your proposed law, you need to lay the groundwork for it by conducting an effective public education campaign. Spend an adequate amount of time - several months to a year - on a public education campaign.

5 - Gauge Community Support

Public opinion surveys, asking residents how they feel about secondhand smoke and smokefree laws, are evidence of the demand for smokefree air and are persuasive to legislators when you approach them about a proposed law.

6 - Draft Your Ordinance

Consult our model ordinance. Pay particular attention to common mistakes when drafting the provisions of the ordinance. Agree on deal breakers at this stage (e.g., ventilation, hours or minors provisions, trigger schemes, etc.)

7 - Find a Good Sponsor

Find a city council member or board of health supervisor to sponsor the ordinance. Maintain communication with your sponsor and ensure that he or she will accurately represent your coalition goals.

8 - Ask ANR For Help

Don't go it alone! Call us at 510-841-3032 to consult with one of ANR's smokefree experts. Learn more about our campaign services and materials available to assist you in running a smokefree campaign.