Starting in January 2021, the Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi Island (TFHI) coalition reimplemented the concept of meeting in small workgroups “Working Circles” which have created space to dive deeper into discussion, brainstorming, and problem-solving sessions.  The circles are led by coalition members and provide an opportunity for members to work together in a way that they had not been able to due to the limitations of face-to-face meetings during the pandemic and due to the vast miles of separation on Hawaiʻi Island.

The Working Circles reflect the main goals TFHI plans to achieve on Hawaiʻi Island in 2021 and have members from all areas of Hawai’i Island, from lower Puna to South Kona. TFHI members attend monthly meetings virtually via Zoom and share updates and news at monthly TFHI General Coalition meetings.  

The Working Circles are as follows:

 Youth Prevention/Community Engagement

  • Increase access to youth prevention programs and services
  • Engage the community to understand the root causes of vaping
  • Provide education and support for parents, schools, and community organizations.

Youth Leadership Hui

  • Identify and connect with organizations that connect with youth
  • Participate in planning & implementing an island-wide Youth Summit 
  • Create a foundation for an island-wide Youth Leadership Hui 

Policy & Advocacy

  • Educate lawmakers and community members regarding policy priority issues (state and local) to increase support for tobacco control policies
  • Build capacity within TFHI coalition to testify and participate in policy and system changes in tobacco control

Tobacco Cessation/Nicotine Treatment/Capacity Building

  • Identify resources and gaps in treating tobacco/nicotine addiction
  • Connect Tobacco Treatment Specialists with each other to build capacity
  • Promote cessation/nicotine treatment to larger Hawaiʻi Island community

One of the first projects the Youth Vaping Prevention/Community Engagement working circle has implemented is an island-wide survey to identify which organizations provide Youth Tobacco/Vaping Prevention education in schools, community, parent or faith-based organizations, as well as which organizations are providing, if any, youth nicotine treatment. TFHI will use the responses from the survey to create a Hawaiʻi Island Youth Tobacco/Vaping Prevention and Treatment Resource list. We plan to distribute the list to our schools (private, public, and charter), community health centers, private practice providers, community and parent organizations.

We have seen an increase in requests for both prevention education and youth nicotine treatment over the past two years and TFHI is committed to bridging the needs and gaps in these areas, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the youth vaping epidemic. If you would like to participate in assisting TFHI in identifying youth prevention, education, and nicotine treatment on Hawaiʻi Island, or general interest in participation with the TFHI, please fill out this form Youth Prevention, Education and Nicotine Treatment for Schools & Community Resources and we will connect with you and your organization.

 If you would like more information about the Tobacco-Free Hawaiʻi Island coalition and would like to join one of our Working Circles, we would love to have you, please see the TFHI Membership Form for more information or contact TFHI East Hawaiʻi Coordinator, Sally Ancheta at sally@hiphi.org and TFHI West Hawaiʻi Coordinator, Lisa DeSantis, at lisa@hiphi.org