The New York State Tobacco Control Program (TCP)
The New York State Department of Health envisions a tobacco-free society for all New Yorkers. The Bureau of Tobacco Control administers the state's Tobacco Control Program (TCP) to reduce illness, disability and death related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure, and to alleviate the social and economic burdens caused by tobacco use. TCP uses an evidence-based, policy-driven and cost-effective approach to decrease tobacco initiation by youth, motivate adult smokers to quit and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
Since TCP's beginning in 2000, the program has effectively implemented a strong clean indoor air law, maintained the highest state tobacco taxes in the nation to keep the price of tobacco high, strongly enforced laws that restrict minors' access to tobacco and increased access to effective cessation services.
Because of TCP's efforts and actions, youth and adult smoking rates in NYS are at historically low levels that are declining at rates that outpace national rates of decline.
What TCP Does
- Uses the most current research findings to drive program activities.
- Works collaboratively with state and national partners to meet program goals.
- Promotes policy change through evidence-based strategies that alter social norms and make tobacco less desirable, less acceptable and less accessible.
- Implements hard hitting, emotionally evocative media campaigns to deglamorize tobacco use and accurately depict the negative consequences of tobacco use.
- Systematically evaluates its efforts to maximize impact and improve outcomes.
TCP's Priority Areas
- Prevent initiation of tobacco use by youth and young adults, especially among low socioeconomic status (SES) populations.
- Reduce tobacco use among adults with low incomes, low educational attainment or serious mental illness.
- Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Maintain, strengthen and refine New York's effective tobacco control infrastructure.
- Contribute to the science of tobacco control.
Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities
A network of statewide contractors works to change the community environment to support New York State's tobacco-free norm. Each contract consists of a community engagement component and a youth action component (branded as Reality Check). Contractors work to:
- Reduce the negative impact of tobacco product marketing and price promotions on youth and adults at the point of sale.
- Increase the number of local laws and voluntary policies that prohibit tobacco use in outdoor areas.
- Decrease secondhand smoke exposure in multi-unit housing, with an emphasis on policies that protect the health of low-income residents.
- Promote policies that reduce tobacco use imagery in youth-rated movies, and on the Internet and social media.
Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York
A network of contractors, covering all New York State counties, work with health care systems to improve the reach and delivery of evidence-based tobacco dependence treatment to all New Yorkers who smoke or use other tobacco products. The contractors work with hospitals, community health centers, federally qualified health centers, and mental health and behavioral health service agencies, with a focus on agencies and organizations that serve people with low education, low income or serious mental illness.
Paid media campaigns are a key component of New York's comprehensive Tobacco Control Program (TCP). The TCP strategically places advertising on television, social media, radio, billboards and in print to reach New Yorkers in every corner of the state.
Repeated studies show that hard-hitting and graphic advertising campaigns that accurately depict the negative consequences of smoking dramatically reduce smoking initiation by youth, motivate adult smokers to make quit attempts, increase calls to the New York State Smokers' Quitline and reduce relapse among former smokers. For more information about the effectiveness of evocative media campaigns, please see NYS StatShot or the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Frequently Asked Questions about the Tips From Former Smokers (Tips) media campaign.
Contractors funded by the Department of Health also engage in activities that garner earned media (free coverage) by television and radio stations, in newspapers and newsletters, and on social media.
The TCP also uses countermarketing to expose the tobacco industry's manipulative and deceptive marketing practices and to reduce the prevalence of tobacco use. Research shows that that tobacco countermarketing campaigns curb smoking initiation in youth and promote smoking cessation in adults.
New York State works to change the environment in which New Yorkers live, learn, work and play, with the goal of motivating tobacco users to quit. While most users quit on their own, for those who want or need help, effective services and treatments are available.
The New York State Smokers' Quitline
Provides free, confidential services that include information, tools, quit coaching and support in English and Spanish. Provides FREE starter kits of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches to eligible New Yorkers. The Quitline also works with employers, health plans and health care providers to ensure New York tobacco users have access to effective cessation treatments. To learn more:
- Call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) toll free, or
- Visit www.nysmokefree.com
An internal surveillance and evaluation team and a contracted independent evaluator support the TCP. Ongoing surveillance and evaluation activities monitor program progress and impact and ensure that the State is investing resources wisely, making progress toward specified goals and undertaking program improvements as necessary.