Section 7: Participating in a regional campaign with neighboring states
The primary benefit of working regionally is pooling strategic expertise and resources within a shared economic and political culture.
In addition, a regional effort can help counter opponents’ arguments that raising taxes in one state will just drive customers across the border to buy their cigarettes. Other benefits of regional campaigns include: shared policy research; expanded media coverage; peer-to-peer campaign support; and a compelling fundraising strategy.
A regional effort may attract extra support from national organizations.
- Leaders of local or national organizations focused on tobacco control, health advocacy, specific diseases or provider alliances convene a meeting with representatives from neighboring states.
- The groups agree on common goals and develop governing principles for a regional alliance to provide technical assistance and material support to state-based campaigns.
- 3. Ideally, each state agrees to advocate for the same increase in the tobacco tax, at least initially, but sets its own goals for use of the revenue.
- Develop a coordinating committee with membership from each state coalition.
- Select an "executive" group authorized to make key decisions and respond quickly when needed.
- Refrain from making deals with lawmakers or other interested groups without consulting the executive committee.
- Conduct monthly conference calls to share strategies and ideas.
- Respect and recognize the contributions of each partner.
Opportunities for regional synergy
- Combining state data into regional reports can highlight the positive impact of raising the tobacco tax on both the economy and health of the region.
- Conducting regional polling and coordinating media strategy can increase the bang for the buck.
- Enlisting support of businesses that operate in more than one state can boost impact and ease fundraising.
- Developing a regional pitch may attract funding from national groups and foundations.
- Encouraging friendly competition among lawmakers from different states may speed action.
- Making presentations to regional gatherings of governors or legislative leaders can reinforce your message.
- Establishing a regional structure can help individual states bring new groups into the coalition.
- Alliance for a Healthy South case statement/core messages
- Alliance for a Healthy South goals and operating principles
- Alliance for a Healthy New England fundraising letter
- “Impact of Cigarette Excise Tax Increases in Low-Tax Southern States”
- Regional contacts for Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids
- To locate the American Cancer Society staff in your state working on tobacco tax issues, contact Kelley Daniel, senior specialist for state and local campaigns, at the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (202) 560-9884 or Kelley.Daniel@cancer.org