Caffee, Caffee & Associates Public Health Foundation, Inc. (CCA PHF) is working with the Mississippi State Department of Health Office of Tobacco Control (MSDH OTC) to develop, implement, and evaluate a youth tobacco prevention program that will empower at-risk youth to reject tobacco and create the first tobacco-free generation.
Developed in 2018 with support from Mississippi State University, MSDH OTC’s Youth Tobacco Prevention Program was designed to primarily target high poverty, high risk secondary schools in Mississippi. The schools must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- 80% of student population receives free or reduced price lunch.
- 50% of student population consist of rural Caucasians.
- 50% of student population consist of African-Americans.
- High percentage of students who are experiencing homelessness or who have ever experienced homelessness (greater than ten percent of student population).
The Youth Tobacco Prevention Program is a multi-component framework that addresses three essential goals through mobilizing youth activists, promoting tobacco-free environments, and increasing youth’s affinity toward anti-tobacco branding and messaging. This program advances the field of tobacco prevention because the structure is aligned with the Centers for Disease Control’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program, which includes preventing tobacco initiation among youth and identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities among population groups.
The program is an activism-based effort developed to disrupt and dissolve the tobacco industry’s targeting of vulnerable communities by:
- Engaging at-risk youth (grades 9-12) in tobacco prevention activities.
- Reducing at-risk youth’s access to tobacco products.
Increasing at-risk youth exposure to effective anti-tobacco messaging.