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cyan youth program

Our Approach

Since 1997, CYAN has been empowering California’s youth to create positive change in local communities throughout the state. Teenagers in California have been active in addressing issues related to youth access to tobacco, negative effects of pro-tobacco messaging in films, reducing youth exposure to secondhand smoke, and raising awareness about tobacco industry manipulation.

Our Youth Program increases youth involvement in local tobacco-free initiatives. The program does so by providing trainings and support to tobacco prevention coalitions and agencies on effective strategies for engaging youth as well as tools for recruiting youth partners and maintaining positive relationships. Once youth are recruited, CYAN provides skill-building trainings for youth advocates on topics including advocacy 101, public speaking, educating decision makers, and community organizing.

CYAN works with a nine-member Youth Board of Directors that provides insight to our organization’s statewide youth campaigns and helps plan and facilitate statewide events.


Our Work


Our Youth Program staff provide an assortment of trainings for youth advocates and adult partners.  We customize each training to accommodate the unique needs of your groups.  Once you are ready to start planning a youth and/or adult training, please contact CYAN and we will develop a detailed training outline to meet your local needs.

  • Trainings for Adult Partners include topics such as: effectively engaging youth partners, youth development, preparing youth for tobacco control advocacy, and conducting strategy sessions with youth.

  • Trainings for Youth can be topic-specific, skill-based, or a combination of the two. Examples of youth trainings are: overview of the problem of tobacco, tobacco in the retail environment, tobacco as a social justice issue, advocacy and social norm change, public speaking, and working with decision makers.

Technical Assistance

CYAN’s Youth Program provides technical assistance and support to county agencies, organizations, coalitions and individuals on youth related tobacco topics.  We offer a variety of services to support local and statewide advocacy efforts including but not limited to the following:

  • One-on-one support (in person or by phone)

  • Staff and/or coalition trainings

  • Assist with the development of policy campaigns

  • Presentation development

  • Materials development


youth quest

Youth Quest is an annual event hosted by CYAN to celebrate and promote youth advocacy in tobacco control. Youth Quest provides an opportunity for youth advocates to demonstrate their commitment to a tobacco-free California, learn about current tobacco control efforts, and build their advocacy skills by sharing their local work with legislators.

Statewide youth advocacy conference

A statewide conference for engaged youth working on making their communities smoke and tobacco-free.  This summer conference strives to strengthen youth engagement in local tobacco control advocacy efforts by providing young people with training on a variety of skills and topics related to coalition development, public speaking, and working with decision makers. In addition, participants will learn about current and emerging tobacco issues.  The 2020 conference will be held at Camp Monte Toyon on July 13 - 16, 2020.

Youth Board of Directors

CYAN’s Youth Board of Directors is a dynamic group of high school students from across California who provide direction and guidance to CYAN’s Youth Program.  Youth serve a one-year term (July – June) on the Board and meet two times per month to discuss CYAN’s youth-focused activities.