Engage coalition members to educate state leaders. Use this toolkit as you plan community events, communicate and meet with state leaders, strategically network with stakeholders, and outreach to media.
Use the messages below when educating stakeholders.
Despite progress made, tobacco is still a problem in Wisconsin.
Though adult smoking has decreased in Wisconsin, tobacco is still the leading cause of death in the state, and tobacco costs the state $4.7 billion annually in health care and lost productivity. Wisconsin’s tax on the leading e-cigarette pod is a small fraction of the tax on cigarettes, despite these products containing the same amount of nicotine. The Wisconsin Tobacco Prevention and Control Program uses a comprehensive approach to address the issue that includes community and youth education, targeted partnerships to address tobacco-related disparities, and providing support to quit tobacco. Tobacco taxes raise $595 million, yet only $5.3 million funds these programs, less than one-tenth of the $57.5 million recommended by the CDC.
Flavored, accessible tobacco products are addicting our kids.
Nationally, four out of five youth who have ever used a tobacco product started with a flavored product. These products, like flavored little cigars, are taxed at a lower rate than cigarettes, making them more affordable for young people. Of these products, e-cigarettes have proven especially popular, with nearly a third of Wisconsin high school students having tried e-cigarettes. According to a 2018 CDC study, the sales percentage of flavored e-cigarettes among all e-cigarette sales jumped 75 percent in Wisconsin (from 12.1 percent in 2012 to 21.2 percent in 2016). Using these new products makes youth more likely to smoke conventional cigarettes, and leaves them susceptible to health problems from nicotine, toxic chemicals, and defective devices.
- Flavored, accessible tobacco products are addicting our kids
- Tobacco addiction and secondhand exposure can lead to deadly consequences
Tobacco is not an equal opportunity killer.
Tobacco-related disparities are prevalent among individuals who experience oppression, which include but are not limited to: low-income populations, LGBTQ communities, communities of color, and individuals struggling with behavioral health issues. The Tobacco Prevention and Control Program must continue to provide significant and equitable outreach, support, and resources to these populations as well as agencies who work closely with them.
Educational Advocacy Strategies
Review the Educational Advocacy vs. Lobbying page before getting started.
Meeting with local or state policymakers provides an invaluable opportunity for you to educate them about your coalition's outstanding work, and to establish your group as a "go to" resource for information on tobacco, electronic cigarettes, and other pressing public health issues. Here are resources to help you prepare:
Community events, like a legislative breakfast or community forum, allow you to educate the community, local decision makers, and legislators about our key messages and the progress we've made to reduce tobacco's burden. Visit the Community Events page for specific tools to help you host a community event.
Formal presentations to community groups not only help to raise awareness of the issue, they define the urgency of our work and motivate community members to take action. A number of presentation templates have been developed on various topics to help you get started.
Testifying in front of local decision makers or state committees is an important strategy to educate stakeholders on the importance, needs, and successes of the Program. Compelling stories demonstrate that we are doing a good job, highlight important accomplishments, show that we are making a positive difference in the lives of real people in Wisconsin, and justify a continued investment in tobacco control. Visit the Public Testimony page for tools to help you make the most of testimony and to refresh/solidify your knowledge of the difference between educating and lobbying.
Media outreach such as letters to the editors, press releases, and photos are an effective way to draw attention to issues in your community. Media coverage is also monitored by local decision makers, meaning earned media outreach can help ensure they see your message. You can get started with this General Constituent Letter to the Editor Template.
Connecting with the Capitol
What happens in Madison matters to all of us. The tools below can connect you with your policymakers and help you stay up to date on the latest happenings at the Capitol.
Connect with Legislators
Click on the links below to see Senate or Assembly districts
Click on the links below to see Senate or Assembly districts with the outlines of MJC jurisdiction areas
Get Notified of Legislative Activity
- Legislative Notification Service: get emails based on legislative activity
- Wispolitics and The Wheeler Report: stay up-to-date on political news
- Wisconsin Eye: watch the Senate, Assembly, and other state governmental bodies in action