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Prevent and Reduce Tobacco Use

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 adults in the U.S. 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 Ending the Tobacco Epidemic: A Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan Site exit disclaimer 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 also is working to change social norms by implementing innovative social media initiatives to assist smokers interested in quitting.  HHS is coordinating 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 its understanding of evolving tobacco product changes, industry practices, and public perception of products to better inform and support FDA’s regulatory actions.  FDA regulatory actions include setting tobacco product standards, reviewing premarket applications for new and modified-risk tobacco products, requiring new health warnings, enforcing youth access restrictions, and establishing and enforcing advertising and promotion restrictions.

Leverage HHS Systems and Resources

HHS is leveraging existing systems and resources to implement model tobacco control policies and to lead by example.  The 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.