NATO Coalition Targets Local Tobacco Regulation

New network of business groups seeks to improve communication, launches website
Photograph: Shutterstock

LAKEVILLE, Minn. -- Among many lessons learned over years of working to shape legislation, none is more important than the value of building constructive relationships with elected officials before finding yourself threatened by adverse legislation. One seasoned professional aptly explained the concept by saying, “It is important to make friends before you need them.”

It is with this goal in mind that NATO is excited to partner with more than 60 national and state trade associations to create a coalition that will make it easier for thousands of American businesses to not only respond to local challenges but also facilitate meaningful relationships with decision-makers before challenges arise.

Monitoring local legislation across the fifty states is no easy task. Providing a mechanism by which organizations and their members can easily and effectively communicate with decision-makers presents even more of a challenge. The launch of the National Response Network (NRN) is possible only through the collaborative effort of NATO and all member organizations. Our effort to date represents a beginning, not an ending. We will continue to add new organizations to our coalition and expect to soon achieve our goal of coverage in all 50 states.

NRN is inspired by the idea the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Each member organization receives local legislative alerts that they can share with their members to facilitate responses from local retailers affected by legislation.

In addition to the critically important alerts, the second phase of our project includes the launch of the National Local Advocacy Alliance website (NLAA). NLAA equips members with important services and information. The NLAA website provides four important tools designed to educate, inform and constructively affect local legislation throughout the country:

  1. Local Ordinance Page: A listing of proposed local tobacco ordinances under consideration, sorted by state, including copies of the proposed ordinances.
  2. Take Action Page: Contacting your local officials about a proposed ordinance is simplified with an easy-to-send, predrafted email message, or a comment for the Facebook page of local lawmakers.
  3. Resources Page: Fact sheets on the different kinds of local tobacco ordinances, which can be used as talking points with local elected officials.
  4. Ordinance Library: An archive of previously adopted local ordinances by state to help retailers understand the regulations already adopted by a local government.

Please contact NATO to see how you can help at And please check out the NLAA website at

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