The New York State Tobacco Control Program

Smoking, Vaping, and COVID-19

Adults who currently smoke cigarettes or who are former smokers, and people living with certain medical conditions often caused by smoking, such as cancer and COPD, are at increased risk of developing severe illness if they get COVID-19. To learn more and for help quitting smoking, visit Smoking, Vaping, and COVID-19.

New York State envisions a tobacco-free and vape-free society for all New Yorkers. Since 2000, the New York State Department of Health Bureau of Tobacco Control administers the state's comprehensive Tobacco Control Program to reduce illness, disability, and death related to commercial tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure, and to alleviate social and economic inequities caused by tobacco use. The program uses an evidence-based, policy-driven, and population-level approach to tobacco control and prevention with a commitment to promote health equity among populations disproportionately impacted by tobacco marketing and use. The Tobacco Control Program's efforts and actions have contributed to record-low youth and adult smoking rates in NYS.

References to tobacco on this website refer to commercial tobacco and not the sacred and traditional use of tobacco by some Tribal Nations.

Priority Areas

  • Prevent initiation of tobacco and e-cigarette use by youth and young adults
  • Reduce tobacco use among adults
  • Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke
  • Advance health equity among populations disproportionately affected by tobacco marketing and use
  • Maintain, strengthen, and refine New York's effective tobacco control infrastructure
  • Contribute to the science of tobacco control

What the Tobacco Control Program Does

  • Identifies and addresses tobacco-related disparities and inequities on the local and state levels
  • Educates communities and decision-makers about policy solutions that create and sustain the tobacco- and vape-free norm and make tobacco and e-cigarette use less desirable, less acceptable, and less accessible
  • Works with medical and mental health care systems and organizations to increase awareness and availability of effective tobacco use disorder treatment with a focus on those that serve populations disproportionately impacted by tobacco use and dependence
  • Funds the New York State Smokers' Quitline to increase cessation and that serves as an ancillary to health care systems providing tobacco use dependence treatment
  • Implements paid media campaigns to increase awareness of the problem of tobacco and e-cigarette use and how to get help quitting
  • Works collaboratively with state and national partners to meet program goals
  • Uses the most current research findings to drive program activities
  • Systematically evaluates its efforts to maximize impact and improve outcomes

Contributions to Tobacco Control in NYS

The program's strategic actions combined with local and state legislation have led to:

  • Restrictions on smoking and vaping in most places of employment and other public spaces
  • One of the nation's highest state tobacco taxes
  • A tax on vapor products
  • A ban on the sale of flavored vapor products
  • An end to the use of tobacco product coupons and discounts
  • The end of tobacco product sales in pharmacies
  • Strongly enforced laws that restrict minors' access to tobacco
  • Increased retailer penalties for tobacco sales violations

For more information about the Tobacco Control Program, visit Tobacco-Free NYS.

To see a list of NYS tobacco-related policies, see New York State Tobacco Control Laws.

Learn more about New York State's Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA)

Contact the Tobacco Control Program with tobacco-related and enforcement questions, complaints, and concerns, and for information about the program's initiatives.

Program Components

Community Programs

Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities

The Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities program fosters environments supportive of policies that reinforce New York State's tobacco- and vape-free norm. The program's chronic disease prevention approach uses a bilateral approach of strategic community engagement and youth action (branded as Reality Check). Grantees use a community-based strategy to create local environments that are receptive to or demand policy change to:

  • Reduce the impact of retail tobacco marketing on youth and adults
  • Increase opportunities for tobacco-free outdoor areas
  • Reduce secondhand smoke and aerosol exposure in multiunit housing
  • Reduce tobacco imagery in youth-rated movies

Learn more at Tobacco-Free NYS.

Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York

The Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York program comprises a network of grantees, covering all New York State counties, who work with medical and mental 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 program's grantees identify and work with hospitals, community health centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, and mental health and behavioral health service agencies. Grantees focus on agencies and organizations that serve people disproportionately affected by tobacco use, including populations experiencing lower educational attainment, lower income, serious mental illness, substance use disorders, or disability.

Medical and mental health care systems interested in learning more about integrating and implementing tobacco use disorder treatment into patient care can contact the grantee in your county or visit the Center for Health Systems Improvement and Talk To Your Patients websites.

Health Communications

Paid media campaigns are a key component of the Tobacco Control Program. The program strategically places advertising on television, social media, radio, billboards, and in print to reach New Yorkers throughout 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 health care providers and to the New York State Smokers' Quitline for quit assistance, and reduce relapse among former smokers. For more information about the effectiveness of evocative media campaigns, see Frequently Asked Questions About the Tips® Campaign on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

The Advancing Tobacco-Free Communities and Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York grantees also run paid media campaigns and engage in activities that garner earned media (free coverage) by television and radio stations, in print and digital newspapers and newsletters, and on social media.

Free Quit Tobacco and E-cigarette Services for New Yorkers

New York State Smokers' Quitline

The New York State Smokers' Quitline provides free and confidential services that include information, tools, quit coaching, and support in English and Spanish. Services are available by phone call, online chat, and text. The Quitline also provides free starter kits of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) patches to eligible New Yorkers who are ready to quit smoking or vaping. The Quitline also works with health care providers to ensure New York tobacco users have access to effective cessation treatments through patient referral programs, providing up-to-date information on evidence-based treatment, screening, and insurance coverage. To learn more:

  • Call 1-866-NY-QUITS (1-866-697-8487) toll free;
  • Text (716) 309-4688; or
  • Visit, for information, to chat online with a Quit Coach, or to sign up for Learn2QuitNY, a six-week, step-by-step text messaging program to build the skills you need to quit any tobacco product.

Drop The Vape – Text-Based Quit Vaping Program for Youth and Young Adults

Drop the Vape is a NYS-specific free and anonymous text messaging program, designed by the Truth Initiative®, and created with input from teens, college students, and young adults who have attempted to or successfully quit vaping.

New York State youth, ages 13-17, and young adults, ages 18-24, can text DropTheVape to 88709 to sign up to receive age-appropriate supportive and motivating text messages to support quit efforts. Enrollees in the program receive interactive daily text messages tailored to their sign-up date or their target quit date if they set one. Those without a quit date receive messages for at least one month. Program users who set a quit date (which they can change) receive messages for at least one week prior to the quit date and for at least two months following the quit date.

Drop the Vape also directs users to the New York State Smokers' Quitline for free and confidential quit coaching via telephone, internet chat, and text, and free starter kits of nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for eligible New Yorkers.

Surveillance, Evaluation, and Research

An internal surveillance and evaluation team and a contracted independent evaluator support the Tobacco Control Program. 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.

Find colorful one-page, easy-to-understand StatShots on New York State-specific data, data briefs, and other NYS-specific reports at Tobacco-Related Reports.