Last Updated: November 29, 2017
Author: Tobacco Control Program, Vermont Department of Health
The Vermont Department of Health funds 13 community grantees referred to frequently as tobacco community grantees and the Agency of Education funds 19 supervisory unions to host school-based youth groups for tobacco prevention activities including what is termed by the CDC as state and community interventions. Examples of interventions include protective policies including local secondhand smoke ordinances. These are official town or city policies that create smoke-free spaces – for example, town greens, town office campuses, and parks and recreational areas. Community grantees and their youth allies help to educate policymakers about the benefits of smoke-free policies, which include reducing secondhand smoke exposure and creating positive social norms that discourage youth initiation and promote cessation. A recent success in establishing smoke-free parks occurred in Burlington. The Burlington Partnership for a Healthy Community along with their youth groups worked hard for years to educate the local community, decision makers and stakeholders on why smoke-free protections were needed. In 2017 an ordinance passed in Burlington that establishes smoke-free city parks and beaches.
Whether a town adopts a smoke-free policy can depend upon several factors including:
- Community support for the policy
- Youth engagement in educating on the need for a policy
- Political will among local decision makers
- Presence of community champions who work for the policy over the long term
This performance measure fluctuates from quarter to quarter based on local leadership awareness, the frequency of town meetings, recent events such as the passing of protective policies in a nearby town, and the grant cycle. Community grantees receive grants on the state fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. Often grantees work on new initiatives in the first one or two quarters and see results in quarters three and four of their grants, i.e. January through June of each year, with increased activity around Town Meeting Day in March. Also, it is common practice for grantees to work on educating for protective language over several years; this effort can remain in the grantee's workplan until final adoption and implementation.