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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. They have legitimate moral authority They have access to hundreds (or maybe millions) of people

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working with faith communities on tobacco control issues

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 Work with the Faith Community?
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

Why Not
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

Pitfalls to Avoid
natural partners
United Methodist Church

Seventh Day Adventist Church

Presbyterian Church USA

United Church of Christ

Union of Reform Judaism

Islam/Muslim societies

Natural Partners
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


Waste of money

Religious Themes related to Tobacco Use
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 Neighbor
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

Love of Self
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 the Vulnerable
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

Care for Children and the Unborn
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

Killing and murder
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

Wasting Money
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?

More Strategic Thinking
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

Using your Contacts
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?

Building on Relationships
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

Faith Not Tobacco
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

Faith United Against Tobacco

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