Youth Making Change Against Tobacco (MCAT)
Who We Are
Created through funding from the Fresno County Department of Public Health – Tobacco Prevention Program, Youth MCAT is tasked with mobilizing youth to create policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes in an effort to decrease the availability and promotion of tobacco products in local communities. The project implements a 5-step model known as Community Action Model (CAM) to create PSE change, which includes:
- Engaging and training youth to become community advocates;
- Completing a community diagnosis;
- Analyzing the community diagnosis;
- Selecting a PSE change for the community to implement; and
- Enforcing that PSE change.
Youth MCAT is currently mobilizing change in an effort to find solutions to minimize the sale and use of flavored and mentholated tobacco products at all stores in unincorporated Fresno County.
Why Address Flavored Tobacco Products
Flavored tobacco products are deceiving- they mask the harsh taste of tobacco making it easier for young people to start and continue using nicotine. The variety of over 15,500 flavors also entice youth use by appearing in youth friendly flavors that may be perceived as not having the same negative health effects as traditional tobacco. Some flavors consist of Strawberries, Sour Gummy Worms, Horchata, Lychee, and Unicorn Puke. These products are not coincidentally named after innocent products – this is the tobacco industry’s new tactic to hook new consumers.
CAM originated in San Francisco as a program that addresses community health at a policy, systems, and environmental change level. This is the first time that the CAM project has been introduced to the Central Valley so we are excited to embark on this journey with our first cohort of Community Advocates.