New to tobacco control? This post is for you.

Counter Tools is growing.

It’s a very humbling experience to start something from nothing (or, from something else that’s new), try mightily to make sure you are actually being helpful to people who are doing meaningful, difficult work, and then eventually have your public-health-start-up-nonprofit-organization ‘take off’ with partnerships in 7 states and more on the way. I’m grateful to everyone who trusts us – thank you – and absolutely thrilled at the possibilities of helping to pass policies that save lives.

What do we do again?

We equip communities with maps like this one — as they educate and negotiate with policy makers for sociopolitical change. Kudos to Sleepy Eye for a recently updated tobacco retail licensing ordinance!

Sleepy Eye Tobacco Swamp map
All of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota (home of Little House on the Prairie) is a tobacco “swamp”, meaning their tobacco retailer density is greater than 3.0 retailers per 1,000 people — or MUCH higher than the Minnesota state or national average. Higher retailer density means lots of access to tobacco retail shops, tobacco displays, signs, and price discounts – which could mean more smoking and less quitting.

As we do more work in more states, our team is growing.

We also meet new folks who want to get in to tobacco control work because it has become such a serious social and neighborhood justice issue (and it’s fixable with policy interventions!).

For new tobacco control advocates, here is a list of excellent get-up-to-speed resources:

1. Tobacco Control 101 Tutorial from Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium

2. The Tobacco Atlas from the World Lung Foundation and American Cancer Society

3. Centers for Disease Control Smoking and Tobacco Use webpage, including Surgeon General’s Reports and the State Highlights pages

4. Tobacco information from “the voluntaries”: American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and the American Cancer Society (also see Lung’s grading systems and legislative databases for state-specific info)

5. Website of Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights, leading advocate and resource for clean indoor air at every level of government

6. Websites for Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids and The Legacy Foundation, highly regarded national tobacco control partners

7. Legal partners Tobacco Control Legal Consortium

8. For effective, telephone-based cessation information, North American Quitline Consortium

9. Our partners in leadership in point of sale tobacco control,, or the new paper-based standard assessment form STARS (ready for electronic/mobile data collection through our Store Audit Center)

10. Blog commentary from legends in tobacco control Stan Glantz and Michael Siegel

11. Wade through tobacco documents at the Legacy UCSF Tobacco Documents Library

12. Fifty years of tobacco control history from RWJF.

Ok. That’s all I’ve got for now. What did I miss?


P.S. Wait, there’s more!

13. CDC’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs 2014

14. The Community Guide: Reducing Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke Exposure

15. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (and MPOWER)

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