Mobilizing the Youth thru Smokefree Caravan
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Vital Strategies, Philippines
Publication date: 2019-03-26
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2019;5(Supplement):A109
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The President of the Philippines signed Executive Order 26 entitled Providing for the Establishment of Smoke-Free Environments in Public and Enclosed Places on May 2017. This imposes a nationwide ban on smoking in all public places.
The SmokeFree Caravan campaign was launched to help popularize said measure. It is a travelling roadshow to highlight the successful Smokefree implementation and promote the adoption of local smokefree ordinances to other cities. The role of the youth in amplifying Smokefree initiatives especially in the digital sphere is a game-changer. They can be the primary arm for engagement, online and offline.
The Caravan went to 12 cities, each city hosting different events to promote tobacco control. These range from mural competitions, dance and fitness sessions, media events, advocacy workshops, etc. The campaign was also promoted on social media and Filipinos shared images and comments inspired by the campaign using the hashtag #SmokeFreePH. Student volunteers were mobilized to help in the different Caravan activities all throughout the country. They manned the booths, attended social media workshops, interviewed and produced videos, all pushing for SmokeFree implementation.
In all of the cities that the SmokeFree Caravan visited, SmokeFree ordinances were enhanced and implementation was strengthened. This can be partly attributed to the contribution of youth advocates, posting and tweeting in all of the major island groups of the Philippines.
Social media and the rest of the digital sphere is owned by the youth. We can have them play a crucial role in creating a spike in online chatter, changing the conversation in favor of tobacco control issues. Achieving to be in the top ten Twitter trending topic, for example, cannot be done without the help of the youth advocates. They play a very important role in magnifying our message in creating favourable public opinion for tobacco control.
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