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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: Utilizing tobacco control strategies developed primarily for American youth may create cross-cultural miscommunications when used for international tobacco control. For building capacity for a tobacco free world, it is essential to foster international youth alliances that produce culturally sensitive and inexpensive tobacco control strategies. Based on extensive first hand personal experience, this presentation provides participants with research suggestions and practical ideas for adapting American tobacco control strategies to the social norms of diverse countries.
Methods: To develop a culturally sensitive tobacco control education project for India, focus groups conducted with Indian youth leaders provided valuable feedback on strategies developed by American students. Research conducted on Indian school systems, youth behavior, family relationships, government policies, and Indian media was utilized to inexpensively adapt American tobacco control strategies for Indian youth.
Results: This collaborative initiative was successfully presented to three thousand youth in Indian cities and villages. High tech and low tech presentations were prepared for urban and rural youth. Participants overwhelmingly expressed positive responses and declared their support for global tobacco control thereby indicating that these culturally sensitive and inexpensive strategies served as effective capacity building tools. Adapting American strategies while respecting Indian educational and social norms resulted in high levels of support from teachers and parents. Five schools pledged to launch tobacco control programs. Lessons learned from this Indo-American initiative have been used to adapt American tobacco control strategies for Mexican youth.