Vinny DeMarco, JD, MA, Faith United Against Tobacco, 2600 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21218
Faith United Against Tobacco is a coalition of over twenty national faith denominations and organizations that mobilizes faith leaders at the federal, state and local levels to support tobacco control policies. Faith United Against Tobacco was launched in 2002 by United Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Lutheran, United Church of Christ, and Presbyterian leaders and has since expanded to included some of the most conservative denominations in America, including the Southern Baptists' Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and some of the most liberal such as the Unitarian Universalists. Check out www.faithnottobacco.org. The Coalition has played a leading role in many successful tobacco control efforts, including raising tobacco taxes in Virginia and Indiana, protecting funding of tobacco prevention programs in Indiana, and enacting smoke free workplace laws in New Jersey, Columbus, Ohio and Austin, Texas. The Coalition is also playing a major role in building public support for national legislation to authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products. The presentation will describe how to find faith leaders interested in tobacco control and how to work with them to achieve tobacco control goals. We will discuss the four ways that faith leaders can help a tobacco control campaign: 1. When faith leaders speak, most policymakers listen; 2) The faith community provides a great way to reach many activists for grassroots work; 3) The media will very often cover faith community events (we will show great examples!); 4) The faith community brings racial, economic, social, and political diversity to the movement.