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Pathways to Freedom:
Winning the Fight Against Tobacco

National concern over the high rates of smoking among the African American population and the absence of available program materials inspired the initial development and current revision to this text. The guide was produced in partnership with key segments of the African American community, including churches, service organizations and educational institutions. It addresses many issues that are specific to African Americans such as targeted advertising campaigns and historical, cultural, and socioeconomic influences. It also offers proven strategies for anyone who wants to quit; how friends and family can help; and how the community and its leaders can promote the value of gaining freedom from tobacco.
Pathways to Freedom: Winning the Fight Against Tobacco

  • Success Stories
    Successful ways in which Pathways to Freedom has been used in communities

    Community Health Center
    A community health center used Pathways to Freedom for communicating quit smoking information to non-English speaking and low-literate patients because the information was explained in pictures as well as words. Explaining the information using the illustrations helped smokers remember key information like setting a quit day and avoiding smoking triggers.

    Telephone Quitline
    The Quit Today! Project funded by the National Cancer Institute trained telephone counselors on the 1-800-4-CANCER information phones to use Pathways to Freedom with African American smokers who called. The counselors marked specific pages with post-it notes to remind the person trying to quit of information that had been discussed during the telephone call.

    Work Site
    A worksite cessation program with a large number of African American employees used Pathways to Freedom in addition to the more generic smoking cessation program that had been used in the past. The Pathways to Freedom guide and the short video were available for workers to take home and use at their leisure.

    Faith Community
    Ministers throughout the country have matched pages in Pathways to Freedom with quotations from the Bible to remind parishioners of the importance of having a spiritual basis for quitting smoking.

    Women's Group
    A women's group in California had several members who wanted to quit smoking. They decided to use Pathways to Freedom as the basis of a game. One member, who was a volunteer with the American Cancer Society, made up cards with questions about smoking and African Americans. The answers were in the Pathways guide. Playing the game helped people trying to quit learn more about the dangers of tobacco use and the best ways to quit.

    Voluntary Health Organization
    The American Cancer Society(ACS) used Pathways to Freedom as part of its outreach efforts to the African American community. To conserve costs and make sure that its limited supply of Pathways booklets was not wasted, the National ACS office produced colorful six-panel Pathways brochures that units could disseminate to family and friends of smokers. Then anyone who was interested in quitting could call their local ACS to get a free guide mailed to them.

    Community Coalition
    In South Carolina, the Pathways to Freedom guide was used by minority health coalitions as a catalyst for statewide organizing of African Americans around tobacco use prevention. The pages in Pathways on tobacco industry targeting of African American communities helped engage various community groups and became the centerpiece of a tobacco issues fair with rap sessions, dance and drama presentations, and a poster contest on tobacco use prevention in the African American community.

    Health Professionals
    The National Medical Association — which represents African American physicians — partnered with the CDC's Office on Smoking & Health in a media campaign that featured Pathways to Freedom. Public service advertisements on radio and television as well as billboards featured images of black leaders who had died from smoking-related diseases. The campaign educated the public as well as physicians about the availability of the Pathways as a resource to help African Americans quit smoking.

    Community-Based Organization
    A community-based organization associated with the Charles Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, used the information in Pathways to Freedom to educate community residents about the connection between tobacco industry target marketing, tobacco industry philanthropy, and the health effects of smoking. Tobacco companies expected the black community to oppose anti-tobacco legislation. Pathways allowed African Americans to "connect the dots" and the black community became advocates for tobacco prevention and control.


  • Testimonials
    What people around the country are saying about Pathways to Freedom.

    "Pathways to Freedom was the only booklet that I found after an extensive search for tobacco prevention, cessation, and educational materials geared towards the African American community. The booklets went very fast with demands for more. I am so delighted that Pathways number two is on its way to fruition. I can't wait to get my hands on them."

    ~Donna Scrutchins
    Chicago Health Department
    Chicago, Illinois

    "Pathways to Freedom was used as part of the rationale to help the South Carolina Department of Health understand the need to support the creation of the South Carolina African American Tobacco Control Network (SCAATCN). We were able to illustrate the kind of targeted materials that needed to be developed, the need for the right presenters, and the potential success it could have in communities of color."

    ~Bill Robinson
    Chair, National African American Tobacco Prevention Network

    "I enjoy seeing my patients' faces light up when I recommend the Pathways to Freedom strategy of using prayer and setting Dr. Martin Luther King Day as a quit date."

    ~Dr. Sharon Marable
    Rhode Island Department of Health
    Providence, Rhode Island

    "Our cessation specialists distribute and use Pathways To Freedom during selected presentations on smoking cessation or tobacco control programs as audience composition dictate. We frequently fill request for copies from others who work in the African American community to help people quit the use of tobacco."

    ~Mildred Morse
    Founder, Tobacco Independence Campaign

    "Pathways to Freedom was very resourceful and useful in helping African Americans quit. The guide was easy to use, informative, culturally appropriate, had great tips for quitting, very helpful for relapses, relapse prevention, and prevention of weight gain. People cherished the guide. I still get requests for additional copies."

    ~Janice R. Love
    Associate Director for Behavioral Health,
    Swope Health Services
    Kansas City, Missouri

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