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Geographic Surveillance Learning Collaborative for Comprehensive Cancer Control and National Tobacco Control Programs


The Geographic Health Equity Alliance (GHEA) and Counter Tools partnered to create the Geographic Surveillance Learning Collaborative for National Tobacco Control Programs and National Comprehensive Cancer Control. The primary objective of this collaborative was to build the capacity of state programs to conduct surveillance of tobacco policies in a format that adheres to the methods and principles of the field of policy surveillance. Seven states participated in the Year 1 Collaborative and shared how they used geographic surveillance to support program planning, identify health disparities and improve communication strategies and policy efforts.

Report with Truth Initiative – Surveying How the Tobacco Industry Markets Flavors in Five Midwestern Cities


Counter Tools and Truth Initiative partnered to develop a set of retail tobacco store assessment questions specifically focused on menthol and other flavored commercial tobacco products. The new form fSTARS was piloted in two cities and later revised to reflect the evolving market for flavored e-cigarette products and tested in three additional cities. The final report examines how flavored tobacco products are marketed and sold in those 5 U.S. cities. The participating cities received training and technical assistance from Counter Tools and Truth Initiative, and data analysis was completed by Counter Tools.

Using Local Data to Pass Policies for Tobacco Prevention in Golden Valley, Minnesota


Counter Tools has partnered with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to help support local areas in the state in their pursuit of policy change around tobacco and in 2019, the suburban city of Golden Valley passed a number of comprehensive tobacco prevention policies. Counter Tools provided a data collection tool, an online mapping tool, analyzed data and created infographics, which local grantees used for communication and engagement with key stakeholders. The assessment and mapping data were strategic elements that helped bring awareness to and educate the Golden Valley’ City Council and community on the tobacco landscape and its impact on citizens.

Florida’s Alachua County – Leading the Way on Tobacco Retailer Licensing, Tobacco 21, and Restrictions Near Schools


Florida Department of Health’s Bureau of Tobacco-Free Florida has partnered with Counter Tools since 2013 to survey the retail environment and spread awareness around healthy retail, and in more recent years the work has shifted focus to passing policies. Counter Tools provided training and message framing on why the retail environment matters and an increased understanding of tobacco retailer licensing and relevant strategies. In January 2019, Alachua County implemented a local tobacco retailer licensing policy, raised the minimum legal sales age for tobacco to 21, and required any new tobacco retailers to be located at least 1000ft away from schools.

Youth Empowerment and Advocacy: Reality Check’s Fight Against the Tobacco Industry


Reality Check is a youth-led program that focuses on the tobacco industry’s marketing practices and teaches youth how to be community leaders and educators. Counter Tools has partnered with Reality Check since 2015 to conduct training sessions that highlight the industry’s targeting of youth, minorities, and lower-income neighborhoods with point-of-sale tactics. Besides gaining foundational knowledge, youth are also trained on advocacy and social justice and participate in rallies outside the annual Altria shareholder’s meeting. In recent years, the event has become a multi-week virtual event that includes youth groups from a variety of locations, and features training sessions, social media advocacy, and other interactive activities.

Assessing 100% of Tobacco Retailers: Virginia’s Ground Truthing Project


Counter Tools entered into a project with Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to create an accurate state-wide tobacco retailer list, utilizing data integration and ground truthing work. Deepening local understanding of the effect of the tobacco retailer environment on health enabled Virginia to develop a statewide infrastructure for tobacco use prevention and control.

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