The Virginia Foundation for Health Youth (VFHY) recognizes that not all youth are the same. Some youth will never use tobacco products no matter VFHY’s efforts. Others are very likely to use tobacco products unless someone intervenes. The latter are our target audience. Reaching these youth requires that we change their knowledge, their environment and their culture. VFHY’s goals in each of these domains are as follows:
Groups of youth who share a combination of fashion, music, language, culture, mannerisms, media consumption habits and other behaviors to define their social identity and differentiate themselves from other groups of youth.
Educate teens on the health, social and global consequences of tobacco use and encourage them to choose to live a tobacco-free lifestyle.
Encourage community stakeholders and institutions, such as parents, schools and community leaders, to reject youth tobacco use, tobacco marketing to youth and tobacco sales to youth and create an environment that encourages tobacco-free lifestyle choices
Promote cultural change within the “peer crowd” of every Virginia teen to ensure that living tobacco-free is perceived as a socially desirable and celebrated lifestyle choice, no matter which peer crowd a youth identifies with.
Rather than try to address all three of these domains through a single approach, VFHY recognizes that culture, environment and knowledge are three uniquely important domains for change that each require unique strategies. Consequently, VFHY has worked with its social marketing and advertising contractors to identify three separate strategies that address the factors affecting each domain, as illustrated below.