Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease, disability, and death in the United States. Each year, an estimated 443,000 people die prematurely from smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8.6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, approximately 45.3 million U.S. adults smoke cigarettes. Smokeless tobacco, cigars, and pipes also have deadly consequences, including lung, larynx, esophageal, and oral cancers. The Affordable Care Act makes fighting tobacco use a national priority by expanding coverage of tobacco cessation services and providing support for evidence-based tobacco control. HHS is implementing the actions outlined in its Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan to prevent and reduce tobacco use through a comprehensive approach designed to build upon HHS’s expertise and resources in support of proven, practical, and achievable interventions.
- Strengthen Evidence-based Tobacco Control Interventions and Policies
HHS is strengthening efforts to implement proven tobacco control interventions at the state and local level. These interventions include establishing smoke-free policies, promoting cessation, helping tobacco users quit, preventing initiation of tobacco use, and increasing local, state, and tribal enforcement of tobacco regulation.
- Change Social Norms Around Tobacco Use
HHS is developing a comprehensive communication agenda to promote a culture change around tobacco use which includes national campaigns to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use. HHS is also working to change social norms by implementing innovative social media initiatives to assist smokers interested in quitting. HHS is unifying communication and education campaigns employed across agencies to effectively provide reliable, updated, and consistent information about the risks of tobacco use and the benefits of quitting.
- Accelerate Research to Expand the Science Base and Monitor Progress
HHS is developing and implementing new research and surveillance activities to address gaps in knowledge about what works in tobacco prevention and control, including developing new prevention and treatment interventions for high-risk populations, and removing barriers to accessing these interventions. HHS is leveraging and expanding its regulatory science including evolving tobacco product changes, industry practices, and public perception of products to better inform and support FDA’s regulatory actions.
- Leverage HHS Systems and Resources
HHS is leveraging existing systems and resources to implement model tobacco control policies and lead by example. Activities HHS is engaging in include making sure that all HHS health care delivery sites provide comprehensive, evidence-based cessation treatment, implementing a comprehensive HHS Tobacco-Free Campus Policy, and promoting expanded cessation benefits for federal employees.
- Foster Global Tobacco Control through Exchange of Best Practices and Capacity Building
HHS continues to collaborate with global partners to exchange information on innovative tobacco prevention practices and contributes expertise to broader global tobacco control efforts. HHS is working with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other partners at home and abroad to strengthen global tobacco surveillance and laboratory capacity. HHS is also providing global leadership in the development of laboratory capacity to measure human exposure to tobacco though its support of the WHO Tobacco Laboratory Network, and it supports innovative research and training programs to address the burden of tobacco use on low- and middle-income countries.