Chico Youth Learn Leadership and Living Tobacco-free

The California Health Collaborative is pleased to announce a collaboration with Chico Unified School District’s Safe and Drug Free Schools project to teach middle school youth leadership and advocacy skills – and to put those skills into practice.

Chico Unified recently received a three-year Tobacco Use and Prevention Education (TUPE) grant from the State of California, Department of Education to incorporate anti-tobacco advocacy into the junior high school tobacco education curriculum. The TUPE funding will enable area youth to participate in two new secondhand smoke advocacy projects taking place in Chico: the Collaborative’s Smoke Free North State and the American Lung Association’s Fresh Air Chico projects.

More than 30 8th-graders at Chico Junior High, Marsh Junior High and Bidwell Junior High Schools participated in a day-long training led by the Collaborative and the American Lung Association. Youth were trained in Tobacco 101, survey collection, and media advocacy. In the Spring, youth will be trained on public speaking and community outreach.

Safe and Drug Free Schools Coordinator Ann Brodsky is excited about the collaboration. She says, “This partnership is a fantastic opportunity for our youth to learn real advocacy and leadership skills. These are the types of real-life learning that will build resiliency in our youth, and empower them to contribute to the health of Chico.”

The Smoke Free North State project is working on a smoke-free entryways policy for Chico, and Fresh Air Chico is aiming for smoke-free parks. Most Californians want smoke-free outdoor air. A recent study by The Center for Tobacco Policy & Organizing found that of those polled, 82 percent of nonsmokers and 59 percent of smokers agree that workplaces should designate smoke-free zones around all building entrances. The latest results from the National Social Climate Survey of Tobacco Control reveal that a substantial number of Americans also support smoke-free parks, beaches, and sidewalks. More than 25 cities and counties in California have already passed a comprehensive secondhand smoke policy prohibiting smoking within 20 feet of all entryways and/or outdoor recreation spaces such as parks.

If you have a business and would like assistance adopting a smoke-free entryway policy, please contact DeAnne Blankenship, California Health Collaborative at 530-345-2438 x213 or FAX 530-345-3214, 25 Jan Court, Suite 130, Chico, CA 95928 or Visit our webpage at: For information on how you can support smoke-free parks in Chico, please call Shelly Brantley, American Lung Association, 530-345-5864 or Website:

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