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Letters to the editor of your local paper are highly influential in raising awareness and educating your community on specific issues. The strongest letters to the editor explain who you are and why you care about tobacco prevention. While a letter can come from a member of the public health or business communities, the most effective letters are from community members like you who simply care about their health and that of their friends and families.

Tips for Writing Letters to the Editor

1.    A Letter to the Editor (LTE) should be between 200 and 250 words. Any more than that and the editor will likely cut content to shorten it.

2.    Because of the limitations on space, LTEs should address one main point. Avoid trying to make more than one argument within a LTE.

3.    Particularly when writing about public health and tobacco-related issues, use facts and data from credible sources (CDC, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, etc.) to support your argument. It makes your point more believable when you can support it.

4.    In general, don’t insult the opposing view. This is especially true if responding to another person’s LTE or article.

5.    Avoid jargon and acronyms, unless well-known (e.g. CDC).

6.    Never use CAPITAL LETTERS or bold font to emphasize a point. It won’t be printed that way and some editors won’t consider a LTE with that kind of formatting.

Contact information for dailies and weeklies all across the state can be found at the North Dakota Newspaper Association.