Priority Area: Tobacco Use

The Burden of Tobacco Use and Secondhand Smoke

Preventing and reducing tobacco use are extremely important public health actions that can be taken to improve the health of New Yorkers. Tobacco use and dependence is the leading preventable cause of morbidity and mortality in New York State (NYS) and in the U.S. Cigarette use alone results in an estimated 443,000 deaths each year in the U.S., including 25,400 deaths in New York State. Second-hand smoke kills another 2,600 New Yorkers every year. There are 389,000 children alive today who will die prematurely from smoking. More than half a million New Yorkers currently suffer from serious smoking caused diseases, at a cost of $8.17 billion in health care expenditures annually. The list of illnesses caused by tobacco use is long and contains many of the most common causes of death, including heart disease and stroke, many forms of cancer, and lung and vascular diseases.


  • By the year 2013, reduce the prevalence of smoking in New Yorkers so that:
    • The percent of adults who smoke is no more than 12.0%* (Baseline: 18.2%, BRFSS, 2006)
    • The percent of adolescents who smoked in the past month is no more than 10.0%.** (Baseline: 16.3%, New York State Youth Tobacco Survey, 2006)
  • By the year 2013, reduce the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD) hospitalization rate in adult New Yorkers 18+ years of age to no more than 31 per 10,000* (Baseline: 41.8 per 10,000, 2004-06)
  • By the year 2013, reduce the age-adjusted incidence of lung cancer in New Yorkers to no more than:
    • 62 per 100,000 for males* (Baseline: 82.2 per 100,000, NYS Cancer Registry, 2000-04)
    • 41 per 100,000 for females* (Baseline: 53.9 per 100,000, NYS Cancer Registry, 2000-04)

* Healthy People 2010 Objective

** Since Healthy People 2010 Objective was met, a new objective was set as part of the Tobacco Program's strategic plan.

Indicators for Tracking Public Health Priority Areas

Each community's progress towards reaching these Prevention Agenda Objectives is tracked so communities can see how close they are to meeting these objectives.

Data and Statistics

New York State Department of Health Programs

Tobacco Control Program

Tobacco Control Program - Program Components

The New York State Department of Health's Tobacco Control Program envisions all New Yorkers living in a tobacco-free society and works to reduce the morbidity and mortality, and alleviate the social and economic burden caused by tobacco use in New York. This mission is achieved through the following statewide and local actions:

  • Changes to the community environment that support the tobacco-free norm and reduce the social acceptability of tobacco use;
  • Cessation interventions that promote cessation from tobacco use and increase access to and delivery of tobacco dependence treatment;
  • Health communications to decrease the social acceptability of tobacco use and educate community members and decision makers about the hazards and costs of tobacco use, as well as effective strategies to prevent and reduce tobacco use;
  • Surveillance and evaluation to monitor program progress and improve program quality;
  • Statewide coordination of these strategies.

The strategies to achieve program objectives are described in One Million Fewer Smokers by 2010 (PDF, 4.17MB, 12pg.) These include the following efforts:

  • Mass media, public relations and media advocacy to motivate tobacco users to stop, promote smoke-free homes, promote effective tobacco control community policies, expose tobacco industry propaganda, and reduce the social acceptability of tobacco use.
  • Work with health care organizations and providers to implement systems to screen patients for tobacco use and prompt providers to offer advice and assistance to quit. The Department provides cessation support and services through the NYS Smokers' Quitline and other venues.
  • Use the most current research findings to drive program activities.
  • Work collaboratively with state and national partners to ensure program goals are met.
  • Community action that de-normalizes tobacco use, decreases the social acceptability of tobacco use, and establishes and supports a tobacco-free norm.

Independent Evaluation Report of the Tobacco Control Program

The 2010 Annual Independent Evaluation Report of the Tobacco Control Program was prepared by researchers at RTI, International and provides an update to previous evaluations of the Tobacco Control Program through the first quarter of 2010. The report provides an overview of the Tobacco Control Program, its general approach to tobacco control and the broader context in which that occurs, and trends in key outcome indicators. An overall discussion of the program and specific recommendations are provided.

Strategies – The Evidence Base for Effective Interventions

Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide)

The Guide presents systematic reviews of the effectiveness of interventions to reduce or prevent tobacco use that are focused on three areas. The Department of Health implements all of the interventions that are recommended in the Community Guide, which are listed below.

  1. Preventing tobacco product use initiation
    • Increasing the unit price for tobacco
    • Mass media education campaigns when combined with other interventions
    • Community mobilization when combined with additional interventions (stronger local laws directed at retailers, active enforcement of retailer sales laws, retailer education with reinforcement)
  2. Increasing cessation
    • Increasing the unit price for tobacco
    • Reducing out-of-pocket costs for effective cessation therapies
    • Multicomponent interventions that include client telephone support
    • Mass media education campaigns combined with other interventions
    • Healthcare provider reminder systems
    • Healthcare provider reminder systems with provider education, with or without client education
  3. Reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)
    • Smoking bans and restrictions

Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs (2007) - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This evidence-based guide can help states plan and establish effective programs to prevent and reduce tobacco use. This document describes an integrated programmatic structure for implementing interventions proven to be effective. It also recommends the level of state investment to reach these goals and reduce tobacco use in each state. Based on the evidence of effectiveness documented in the scientific literature, the most effective population-based approaches have been defined within the following overarching components:

  • State and community interventions
  • Health communication interventions
  • Cessation interventions
  • Surveillance and evaluation
  • Administration and management

Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: Clinical Practice Guideline U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service

These guidelines contain strategies and recommendations for effective treatments for tobacco use and dependence. It is designed for clinicians, tobacco dependence treatment specialists, health care administrators, insurers, and purchasers.

MPOWER A Policy Package to Reverse the Tobacco Epidemic

The MPOWER policy package provides six specific policy and program recommendations for reducing tobacco use. This policy package is being used by the World Health Organization to promote reductions to global tobacco use and has direct relevance for state and local tobacco prevention and control programs. The six strategies include:

  • Monitor tobacco use
  • Protect people from tobacco smoke
  • Offer help to quit tobacco use
  • Warn about dangers of tobacco
  • Enforce tobacco advertising and promotion bans
  • Raise taxes on tobacco products

NCI Monograph 19: The Role of the Media in Promoting and Reducing Tobacco Use

This monograph from the National Cancer Institute provides a comprehensive overview of the scientific literature on media communications in tobacco promotion and tobacco control. Key lessons from this volume can inform policymakers and practitioners in how to effectively reduce the impact that tobacco marketing has on youth and how health communications interventions can effectively reduce tobacco use.

Ending The Tobacco Problem (Institute of Medicine)

This report provides a blueprint for the nation to reduce tobacco use. The report reviews effective prevention and treatment interventions, and considers a set of new tobacco control policies for adoption by federal and state governments.

County Strategies and Partners Matrix

The County Strategies and Partners Matrix for Tobacco Use was compiled from the 2010-2013 community health assessments submitted in 2009 by 12 local health departments. It describes how local health departments collaborate with hospitals and community organizations to plan and address this priority to improve population health outcomes.


Partners include community partner organizations that are engaged in tobacco control efforts.

More Information

  • Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program
    Corning Tower, Room 710
    Empire State Plaza Albany, NY 12237
    Voice: 518-474-1515
    Fax: 518-486-1684