“Educate then legislate!” explains Cynthia Hallett, Executive Director of the Americans for Non-Smokers Rights, as she shared her over 20 years of experience developing, implementing and enforcing smoke-free policies in the US with participants. Her experience has taught her that an educational campaign accompanying a smoke-free policy is critical. She noted that one of the major goals of smoke-free policies is to change social norms about smoking. Tobacco control advocates and policymakers should be thinking about how to educate the public before and after a law is passed.
Participants shared their experiences in helping Mexico City and several states in Argentina go smoke-free. As the participants noted, whether the push for smoke-free policies was from inside or outside the government, campaigns and other grassroots efforts played an important role during policy development and implementation. Hallett agreed, “a strong educational component is going to make everything else easier.”