Contact Your Legislators

Pick a policy issue, and contact your legislators (local, state or even Federal) asking them to support or vote against a policy. Make sure that your elected officials hear your voice!

You'll Need

  • Fact sheets and other resources about your policy issue - check out our Resources page.
  • Folders for leave-behind materials if you’re doing an in-person meeting


Before the Activity:

  • Choose an issue to focus on when speaking to your legislator. What is the problem? What is the solution? Is there a tobacco tax increase proposal in your state? Are advocates still fighting for smoke-free air? Contact us to see what’s going on in your state, and how we can help. 
  • Develop talking points on your issue and have a plan to contact your elected officials. You can call your elected officials, mail or e-mail them materials, or meet with them in person. Check out our Resources page for fact sheets to help with your talking points. 
  • If your group will be meeting with your legislator in person: 
    • Call your legislator’s office and ask to schedule a meeting on Take Down Tobacco: National Day of Action. Be sure to tell them what the meeting’s about, your address (proving that you live in their district), and what school or group you are from. Emphasize that you are with a local, youth-driven group. 
    • Find an expert on your issue, and ask them to conduct training for your group. It is crucial that you are confident talking about your issue before calling or meeting with your legislator. 
    • Decide who will go with you to the meeting (a parent, teacher, other adult) and outline what you are going to say. The more people who live in that elected official’s district the better, but try to limit each of the meetings to 4 people or fewer. 
    • Have participants develop their story about why they care about your issue. The most important thing is to illustrate how tobacco is affecting their community, school, and peers. Legislators will be most interested in what youth are experiencing and seeing every day and why they are passionate enough to try to create change. 
    • Develop a leave-behind folder with fact sheets and other materials about your issue (see our Resources page), including information about your group and a business card or other way for the legislator or their aides to get in touch with you if they have any questions.
  • If your group will be making calls or emails to a legislator: 
    • Create a call script for people to use that includes key talking points and space for people to insert why the issue is important to them. Here’s an example call script for youth calls asking a legislator to end the sale of flavored tobacco: “Hi, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a youth constituent living in [CITY/TOWN]. I am calling to urge [LEGISLATOR] to support measures that would end the sale of flavored tobacco products. 81% of youth who use tobacco started with a flavored product, and I am sick of my generation being targeted by Big Tobacco with sweet, fruity, and minty flavors. At my school, [INSERT HOW THE E-CIGARETTE EPIDEMIC HAS IMPACTED YOUR SCHOOL]. Please protect kids in our district by ending the sale of all flavored tobacco products.” 
    • Make copies of your call script that include the number for the legislator’s office and any other information callers need.

During the Activity:

  • If you meet with your legislator or a staff member in person, make sure to get a photo at the end of the meeting. 
  • If the legislator asks questions you need to follow-up on, make sure to write them down and decide who will follow-up. 
  • If your group is making calls, make it a call party! Have callers do a pre-calling huddle, have fun snacks, and celebrate your hard work after. Making calls can be intimidating so keeping the atmosphere exciting and energetic will help motivate callers. 

After the Activity:

  • Make sure to send each member or staff member involved in the meeting a thank you note or email. 
  • Post photos of your meeting or your call party on social media - make sure to tag the legislator and use the hashtag #TakeDownTobacco!