The Program Training and Consultation Centre (PTCC), in collaboration with the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit (OTRU), has developed an electronic Toolkit of Better Practices. Its purpose is to help community workers make the best use of limited resources to reduce tobacco use. The Toolkit is an online database of interventions deemed 'recommended' or 'promising' by experts in the field. It has been under development since 2001 and is now available on the PTCC's website at http://www.ptcc-cfc.on.ca/bpt/bpt.cfm.
Here you will find detailed project descriptions, comments from expert reviewers and step-by-step instructions to replicate each program. In the short implementation summary there are direct links to selected program resource materials that you can modify and adapt for your own use. The 'better practices' review that these programs have undergone should increase practitioner's confidence that using these programs will achieve the results they want in their community.
All programs included in the toolkit were assessed for 'effectiveness' and 'plausibility'. Definitions for these terms are posted on the site. It is up to practitioners to determine 'practicality' based on community readiness and availability technical, financial, and human resources.
The better practices methodology that was adapted for this project originated from Cameron and colleagues' International Scan for Better Practices in Heart Health (June 1998) and was more recently adapted by the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative. This methodology is well documented on the website.
Also included on the site is a description about how this Toolkit complements the growing body of guidelines for tobacco control. You will find links to such organizations as the Canadian Tobacco Control Research Initiative's Research Reviews, along with links to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, among others.
II What programs are included?
The Toolkit is a work in progress that currently profiles 19 Ontario tobacco control programs that were funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care through the renewal of the Ontario Tobacco Strategy in 2000 and 2001. Other community-based tobacco use reduction programs will be analyzed as resources allow.
At this time, 4 programs are listed as 'Recommended' and 15 as 'Promising'. Four other programs that were reviewed received a rating of 'Not Recommended', mainly because they lacked good evaluation data. The 'Not Recommended' projects are not be listed on the website, but key findings and lessons learned from implementing these projects will eventually be posted.
III Recommended Practices
1. Retail Sales Compliance Training Video: "19? Prove It!" and TCA Training Course - Thunder Bay Health Unit
2. Smoking Cessation Supports on College and University Campuses: Leave the Pack Behind - Brock University
3. Not to Kids! A Media Campaign to Reduce the Sale and Supply of Tobacco to Kids - Toronto Department of Health
4. Breathing Space: Community Partners for Smoke-Free Homes - Peel and Toronto Department of Public Health, with Health Units in the Greater Toronto Area.
IV Promising Practices
1. Training Public Health Staff in Smoking Cessation for Parents and Pregnant Women - Bruce Grey Owen Sound Health Unit
2. Bylaws and Signage to Encourage Smoke-free Playground Parks and Sports Parks - Simcoe County District HU.
3. Developing Student Tobacco Action Committees in Simcoe County Schools - Simcoe County District HU.
4. Reducing Youth Access and Supply to Tobacco in Simcoe County and Peterborough - Simcoe County District HU
5. Quit and Win Contest - Provincial Quit Smoking Contest Planning Committee
6. York Region Chinese Anti-tobacco Education Campaign - York Regional Health Department
7. Encouraging Teachers to Implement Smoking Prevention in a Northern Classroom - Algoma Health Unit.
8. Media Campaign Modeling Smoke-free Futures for Youth - Algoma Health Unit
9. Lungs are for Life: Grades 4 to 8 Revised Modules - The Lung Association
10. Smoking Cessation for Women, Francophones and other Marginalized Groups- Ottawa Carleton Health Department
11. Media Campaign to Build Support for a Smoke-free Bylaw in Ottawa - Ottawa Carleton Health Department
12. Engaging Youth via a Media Campaign and a Youth Advisory Committee - Ottawa Carleton Health Department
13. Smoking Cessation for Lower Literacy Clients in Peterborough - Peterborough County City Health Unit
14. An Education and Enforcement Strategy to Support the Peterborough Smoke-free Spaces Bylaw - Peterborough County City Health Unit
15. A Promotional Campaign to Support Implementation of the Smoke-Free Bylaw in Waterloo Region - Council for a Tobacco-Free Waterloo Region
V Where do we go from here?
Future plans for the Toolkit include:
* creating a membership data base so that practitioners can be contacted when new interventions related to their areas of interest are posted;
* helping communities modify and use media campaign resources;
* refining the expert reviewers' protocol;
* allowing practitioners to post their practical lessons about programs in the toolkit; and
* inviting practitioners to submit new (or favorite) programs for review.
We welcome advice and suggestions from everyone who has ideas to help make the Toolkit more complete and easier to use.
The Toolkit aims to provide practitioners with practical knowledge of effective tobacco control programming. Activities from one jurisdiction often can achieve the desired outcome in another jurisdiction with just minor modifications. By replicating rather than re-inventing, scarce community resources can be redirected from development to increasing the reach and scope of an intervention to achieve significant reductions in tobacco use.
Cameron, R., Jolin, M.A., Walker, R., McDermott, N., & Gough, M. (2001). Linking Science and Practice: Toward a System for Enabling Communities to Adopt Best Practices for Chronic Disease Prevention. Health Promotion Practice. 2:1, 35-42.