Faith-Based Tobacco-Free Environments
The faith community is vital in smoking prevention, as they are a powerful source that encourages, motivates and supports positive behavioral changes. Faith communities give structure to community life, and they have the potential to significantly influence the outcome of tobacco-free campaigns… especially with their ability to reach large, diverse audiences.
Most congregations are composed of people from varying social, political, ethnic and economic backgrounds, and a spiritual leader’s words can transcend the many barriers amongst them. By incorporating smoking-prevention messages into sermons and religious-text study groups, leaders of faith can inspire their congregations to support smokefree environments and tobacco-free lifestyles.
Since 1964, approximately 2,500,000 nonsmokers have died from health problems caused by exposure to secondhand smoke.
Churches, synagogues, temples, monasteries, mosques and other houses of worship provide safe, healthy and comfortable environments for members and their families, as well as staff and visitors. Establishing a tobacco-free policy helps ensure this provision. A tobacco-free property—indoors and outdoors—clears the air of dangerous secondhand smoke, and can help support congregation members who are trying to quit smoking.
As part of a tobacco-free policy, places of worship can:
- Put up “No smoking” signs in highly visible areas inside and outside the building.
- Print information about the effects of secondhand smoke and dangers of tobacco in congregation newsletters.
- Provide materials and cessation information to congregation members who are trying to quit. Also, refer them to the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline.
- Provide onsite tobacco cessation programs to assist and support individuals who wish to quit smoking.
- Sponsor tobacco cessation classes at your place of worship.
- Create and lead support groups for people trying to quit.