Event Ideas

*These ideas are only ideas and can be altered based off your chapter’s preferences. You may use these activities exactly how they’re suggested or you can create an entirely different event that fits your chapter.


Back to School

The beginning of the school year is a great time to get your ISTEP chapter name out there to recruit members for the school year. First pick a big school event, such as a sporting event, homecoming parade, band or choir concert, etc. Next, find tobacco facts and silly puns then print onto labels (don’t forget to include the ISTEP logo and your chapter name). Place the labels onto food items being sold in the concession stand, or purchase food to hand out for free, depending on what type  of budget you have.

Here are some examples:

  • There are so many “reese”ons to be tobacco free!
  • Just be”twix” me and you – tobacco free is the way to be!
  • Be a “smartie” – say no to tobacco!
  • Don’t be a “nerd” – be tobacco free!
  • I’m kind of a big “dill”- I choose to be tobacco free!
  • It may be “corny” but I’m “popping” in to say, “tobacco is wacko”!
  • Let’s “taco”bout quitting smoking!


Red Ribbon Week (RRW)

Each year in October, one week is nationally known as Red Ribbon Week. Tobacco, alcohol and other drug awareness activities are conducted nationally every day throughout the week. See the Red Ribbon Week website (www.redribbon.org) to find event dates and ideas of activities.

Big Tobacco’s Tricks (Not treats)

Candy or tobacco? Can you tell the difference?

It’s hard to tell at first glance, and that’s not an accident. Tobacco companies want youth to think products like chew, electronic smoking devices and flavored cigars are as fun and as harmless as candy. That’s because they’re trying to get youth addicted to another tobacco/nicotine product, besides cigarettes, to keep their sales going. It’s a trick, not a treat. Nicotine in any form is addictive.

As a chapter, revamp tobacco advertisements to state the truth about tobacco products. Be creative – you can recreate magazine ads, commercials, billboards, etc. Feel free to refer to the Corrective Statements release November 2017 (www.tobaccofreekids.org/media/2017/corrective-statements).


Every year, on the third Thursday of November,  smokers across the nation take part in the Great American Smokeout. It’s a day to encourage someone you know to use the date to make a plan to quit, or plan in advance and then quit smoking that day. By quitting, even for one day, smokers will be taking an important step toward a healthier life and reducing their cancer risk.


Merry Quit-mas

Ho, ho, ho! Join in the holiday spirit of giving by creating quit kits for your peers at school and local businesses/organizations to help them become tobacco/nicotine free. The quit kits may include tooth picks, mints, gum, straws, sunflower seeds, stress balls, slips of paper to write down reasons to quit, Quitline Iowa information, etc.

Hand out the quit kits at a school or community event, or drop them off to local businesses to offer them to their customers. If you’re feeling brave, dress up as Santa and hand them out during a holiday party at school!

Healthy for the Holidays

Find out how much a pack of cigarettes or can of chew costs in your town. Create a flyer or poster with how much money people could save if they quit using tobacco. Show how the money could be saved and put towards holiday gifts or fun family events.


Wall of Remembrance

The new year brings new goals and hope for a fresh start. Go along with this theme and create “Wall of Remembrance”. This is a memorial display to show the impact that tobacco has on our community. Set up a display space and ask peers to bring photos of their loved ones who have passed away from tobacco use. Have students write on the display why they choose to be tobacco free for the upcoming year. 


Though with Chew Week (TWCW)

ISTEP often does street marketing activities around smoking and secondhand smoke but we also need to focus on preventing spit tobacco. TWCW is a week-long event that focuses on the harm of spit tobacco. You can participate the entire week, just one day or somewhere in between.


Kick Butts Day (KBD)

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism put on and sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. KBD empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against tobacco companies. As a young person, teacher, youth leader or health advocate, you can organize events to raise awareness of the tobacco problem, encourage  other youth to stay tobacco-free and urge strong action to protect youth from tobacco. Find more information at www.kickbuttsday.org for more details about activities or contests.


Earth Day & National Pet Day

Pets can suffer from tobacco exposure the same way humans can. Many tobacco product users are unware  of the harm their tobacco litter can do to pets, wildlife in general and the environment. We can help stop pets from inhaling tobacco smoke or ingesting tobacco litter and help clean up our local environment. Organize an event to clean up tobacco butts in parks in your community.


World No Tobacco Day

Observed annually on May 31, World No Tobacco Day is the only global event established to call worldwide attention to the impact of tobacco use on public health and to reduce individual tobacco dependence. Consider planning a tobacco free pledge event. This can be done anytime during the year where youth and adults pledge to be tobacco free. Create a display at your school, county fair, library, etc. where people will see it often and sign the pledge.  

End-of-the-year Celebration

Make sure to celebrate your accomplishments from this past year with your ISTEP chapter. Make it a birthday bash theme – “Create a World with Less Cancer and More Birthdays”!

Chapter members can pitch in and bring snacks. Create a slide slow or poster board of photos from this past year. Share the slide show with teachers to show during morning announcements or to display the poster board where students will easily see it.