Establish Smokefree Legislative Policies Through Community Capacity Building
Goal / Mission
The goal of Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS) was to be a voice for the diverse community in providing a healthy built environment for all to live, work, learn, and play. In 2018, Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy, and Leadership (APPEAL) had reached out to CPACS to select them as a regional partner for the ASPIRE National Network, a part of CDC’s Networking2Save Consortium that works to serve priority special populations in cancer and tobacco control work. CPACS was selected based on its prior work and success in connecting with Asian American and Latino populations in the greater Atlanta metropolitan area.
Before a smoke free ordinance was put into place in Doraville, GA, there was a gap in smoke free protections for employees and also for those living in multi-unit households like apartment complexes and townhomes, where they were exposed to smoking in their properties. According to CPACS Substance Abuse Prevention Program Coordinator Camila Gomez, the main component of the ordinance was to pass something that “would protect people from smoke in their home areas because everyone has the right to breathe smoke free air where they live.” The area around Buford Highway is a multicultural corridor of Asian and Latino cultures and CPACS sought to protect the people in the area by providing the youth a voice in advocating for policy change. CPACS worked with primarily Asian American and Latino youth and community leaders to build capacity to advocate for smoke free spaces to ensure a healthier community built environment in Doraville, GA.
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy, and Leadership (APPEAL) collaborated with the Center for Pan Asian Community Services to train their staff on many of the policy and community readiness models endorsed by ASPIRE and created by APPEAL as tools for use in community capacity and coalition building. As a part of CPACS’ goal to provide a voice for the diverse Doraville community and to create a healthy built environment for all, CPACS began work to advocate for a smoke-free Doraville, GA. This stemmed from the recent successful passage of a smoke free ordinance in neighboring Clarkston, GA. CPACS empowered youth in their organization to form and put together a youth task force to create educational presentations and awareness in the community of the need for smoke free spaces and reduction in commercial tobacco advertising that targets youth and urban minority groups. The youth task force attended multiple city council meetings and helped to identify and gather key stakeholders from leaders and champions from within community leadership, policy makers, and local and often ethnic businesses. They helped transform coalition building. Through coordinated communication, CPACS identified coalition building, smoke free policy, and youth task force creation as key pieces in their tobacco work with APPEAL.
Members of CPACS led by the youth task force and guidance from members of city council in Doraville collaborated on work with Smokefree Atlanta and the American Heart Association to promote their efforts. Through the youth task force process of attending city council meetings and providing educational presentations to civic leaders, CPACS was able to make connections with city council members such as Stephe Koontz (City Councilwoman Doraville, GA District 3). With Koontz’s help and support for smoke free spaces, CPACS was able to also garner strong support from the mayor of Doraville to make smoke free policies a priority.
Through advocacy and capacity building, CPACS was able to implement a comprehensive smoke free ordinance in the city of Doraville to reduce secondhand smoke in November 2020. CPACS was instrumental in getting the ordinance passed in Doraville, GA to prohibit smoking on all city owned properties and, in all city-owned structures, and bans any kind of smoking within 20-feet of the entrance to most public places and residential common areas. The ordinance went into effect late 2020 and CPACS has worked with the city of Doraville to increase education and awareness of the ordinance in 2021 to the community and to local businesses in the area.
CPACS is educating their youth task force on the importance of policy change using APPEAL’s 4-prong policy change model as well as disseminating graphics to the community in various languages to ensure the community is aware of the passing of this policy and providing the community with support through this transition. CPACS is working with youth through its Community Action Teams program to do an ethnographic follow up study of the effects of the ordinance to inform their future culturally and linguistically tailored educational materials development for policy awareness and continued collaboration with community businesses in enforcing the ordinance.
In 2022, CPACS supported efforts to expand the ordinance to include all of Gwinnett County, GA. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners passed a countywide smoke free ordinance as well. The ordinance went into effect on June 23, 2022 and will prohibit smoking in enclosed public spaces. Those spaces include restaurants, gaming facilities, convention centers and certain bars. The ordinance did list some exceptions, including smoking inside private homes and inside hookah bars, cigar bars, and lounges. CPACS continues to work with the communities in Doraville to create awareness for the targeting practices of commercial tobacco advertising and to promote the advantages of smoke free policies for maintaining a healthy built environment.
Needs Assessment: CPACS began the implementation process by conducting a community readiness needs assessment through their community coalition: GA Team Empowerment (the GATE Coalition). The GATE coalition is a coalition dedicated to prevention of underage substance use that harnesses cultural and linguistic skills necessary to work with AAPI/Latino communities of metro Atlanta. CPACS forged connections and met with local stakeholders. CPACS followed the triethnic model, which includes asking a set of specific questions to key stakeholders in the community. Stakeholders included those stated previously in CPACS’ coalition of parents, students, business owners, policy makers, law enforcement, and the education system. Using those questions over a number of years, CPACS recorded behaviors and attitudes of the community as they changed over time.
APPEAL continued to support CPACS throughout the coalition building process.
CPACS convened several community listening sessions and focus groups to identify the problem and to get community members to offer their input on policy change for a healthier community.
Youth Task Force (Voices and Engagement): CPACS worked with the youth task force to develop leadership programming, elevator pitches for educating stakeholders, and educational materials to disseminate to city council members and coalition constituents to advocate for commercial tobacco policy changes in smoke free legislation and signage. CPACS gathered community member input and worked to connect with local partners and collaborate with nonprofit agencies.
Identify Champions (formal and informal and traditional and nontraditional leadership): Through CPACS’ youth task force work and collaboration with the GATE coalition, CPACS was able to identify several local and regional stakeholders to help advance tobacco prevention laws (American Heart Association staff member, Laura Bracey, and Korean born Chinese manager and local business owner of Yen Jing Chinese Restauarant, Ching Hsia). These key stakeholders along with various local law enforcement and high school guidance counselors joined in coalition monthly calls where they were able to provide key input on the community from their perspective.
Connections to larger nonprofits: Collaboration was key to working with other local organizations and to uplifting each others’ work. CPACS built connections with other local organizations. Policy is something that is a little bit more nuanced and a little bit different from what CPACS prevention has been traditionally doing which was a lot of education and advocacy previously. CPACS was able to gain support and get confidence in shaping policy work through the creation of partnerships with larger nonprofits such as the American Heart Association (AHA), Smokefree Atlanta, and the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Council Meetings and Introductions: Partnering with the American Heart Association allowed CPACS to gain traction in their policy work. Through CPACs’ introduction to Laura Bracey (Community Advocacy Director later promoted to Government Relations Director of AHA), CPACS was able to utilize the resources and support of AHA to increase their coalition capacity building efforts. Bracey was the leader with that as well and offered CPACS advice and assistance and helped with making connections with city council members.
CPACS continued to identify champions (formal and informal and traditional and nontraditional leadership), empower youth and adult voices, attend city council meetings, and make introductions with city leaders to make all of this possible. CPACS worked towards community engagement through coalition and capacity building of a strong constituency of stakeholders. Once the smoke free policies became a priority for city leaders, CPACS worked with the city to bring the ordinance to passage as law.
Congressional members, community partners, and CPACS worked together to provide technical assistance while helping with actually writing the laws into place. CPACS built a relationship with these individuals and through these strengthened connections with council members created a united front of all the organizations working to promote change.
Impact / Results / Accomplishments / Outcomes
CPACS saw an opportunity to learn and adapt from successful smoke free ordinance passage in neighboring Clarkston, GA and sought to successfully develop youth leaders and train them to approach city council and larger community coalitions and nonprofits. Through youth led community work, Doraville was able to convince city council members to make smoke free spaces a priority. This led to a vote and policy change with the passage of a smoke free ordinance in Doraville, GA in November 2020.
This work on policy allowed CPACS to educate their community about the benefit of legislative advocacy as well as the legislation itself. It also highlighted the importance of having a strong infrastructure and program to work closely with those directly impacted by smoke-free policies, namely AA and NH/PI businesses and restaurants. These businesses were not necessarily reached by mainstream campaigns, but through tailored approaches, they became aware of the regulations and the importance of enforcing the legislation. The legislation not only resulted in linkages with mainstream organizations, but also resulted in the development of relationships with AA and NH/PI businesses and other community based organizations — important allies in mobilizing the community for future programs and initiatives.
After the success in Doraville, the community sought expansion of smokefree laws to Gwinnett County, GA and were able to garner support and passage for similar laws effective June 23, 2022. CPACS conducted an ethnographic study of effects to continue to work for improvement and awareness of smoke free policies in the Doraville area. CPACS continues to provide education, advocacy, and policy support to the community.
- Reach out to the community and make connections to city leaders in public policy, institutions (schools and work), coalitions, and within communities (local businesses and civic clubs)
- Making partnerships at all levels and building those out is key
- Identify your key stakeholders and look for champions from the community to develop leaders for advocating change
- Continue to seek out those who care about the issues
- Adapt to and engage the community
- Be authentic and intentional in advocacy and social norm change work
About this Promising Practice (Contact information)
- Organization(s): Center for Pan Asian Community Services (CPACS)
- Primary Contact(s): APPEAL Staff
- Authors: APPEAL Staff with informant interviews from CPACS staff – Camila Gomez and Kaitlin Banfill
- Topic(s): Youth Leadership, Smokefree Policies, City and County Tobacco Ordinances
- Source: Informant interviews from CPACS staff – Camila Gomez and Kaitlin Banfill
- Date of Publication: N/A
- Date of Implementation: Implemented for Doraville in November 2020 with expansion to Gwinnett County-wide June 2022
- Location: Doraville, GA and Gwinnett County, GA
- More details (web address for study):
- Banfill, K and Gomez, C. (2022). Smoking Spaces: An Ethnographic Study of Tobacco Use on Buford Highway.
- [Powerpoint Slides]. CPACS Prevention Team, Community Action for Teens, and Georgia Team Empowerment. Atlanta, GA. – (attach presentation pdf)
- Target Audience: Policy Makers, Community Based Organizations, Tobacco Control Coalitions
Advocacy, Asian American, Assessments Data Research, Built Environment, Capacity Building, Champions, City Council, Coalition Building, Commercial Tobacco, Communal/Public Spaces, Community Based Organizations, Community Engagement, Community Partnerships, Community Readiness, Countering Tobacco Industry, Cultural Tailoring, Disparities, Implementation Strategies, Infrastructure, Language Barriers, Leadership Development, Multi Sectoral Partnerships, Nonprofits, Outreach, Policy, Policy Change, Policymakers, Policy Systems Environment (PSE) Change, Priority Populations, Secondhand Smoke, Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing, Smokefree Spaces, Smoking Ordinances, Social Change, Substance Use/Abuse, Tobacco Advertising, Tobacco Control, Tobacco Influences, Youth, Youth Engagement
Assessments Data Research, Capacity Building, Coalition Building, Community Engagement, Community Partnerships, Countering Tobacco Industry, Health Equity, Infrastructure, Interventions, Leadership, Policy, Smokefree Spaces, Smokefree Multi-Unit Housing, Substance Use/Abuse, Technical Assistance and Training, Tobacco Control and Prevention, Youth Engagement
Primary Audience Focus:
Coalitions, Community Based Organizations, Health Departments, Nonprofits, Policymakers, Men, Women, Teens/Adolescents (13-18), Young Adults (19-24)
Type of Resource:
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523