Addressing Tobacco by Using a Statewide Tobacco Control Program
Tobacco use remains the leading cause of premature and preventable death in our Nation. Smoking and secondhand smoke are responsible for an estimated 443,000 deaths each year. Smoking-related illness in the United States is estimated to cost more than $96 billion each year in medical costs and another approximately $97 billion in lost productivity.1 In the state of Oregon, tobacco use is the leading cause of all deaths among residents. Each year, an estimated 7,000 Oregonians die from tobacco use and an additional approximately 650 die due to exposure to secondhand smoke.2 In 2009, tobacco use cost Oregonians an estimated $2.4 billion in medical expenditures and lost productivity due to premature death.3
As a result of tobacco’s devastating toll on Oregon residents, the state launched a comprehensive, evidence-based, statewide tobacco control program in 1997. Guided by the HHS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, the Oregon Public Health Division implements the Oregon Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP) with the goal of reducing tobacco-related illness and death. The program funds local tobacco control programs statewide to engage individuals in the places where they live, work, play, and learn. Local tobacco prevention and education programs are located in all 36 county health departments and all 9 federally recognized tribes.
TPEP’s major initiatives include:
- Assuring Oregonians can live, work, play, and learn in places that are tobacco-free
- Operating the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line
- Conducting surveillance on the impact of tobacco use
- Working on the Tobacco Control Integration Project (TCIP), in collaboration with the Oregon Health Authority, Department of Human Services, and agencies across state government.
TCIP is a partnership between Oregon’s Tobacco Prevention and Education Program and the state agencies providing health and social services to people living in Oregon. Together, these agencies reach over 1 million Oregon residents each year.4 In partnership with the agency divisions, TCIP implements systems, policies, and procedures that assist employees and clients in reducing tobacco use.
TCIP strategically works with all Oregon Health Authority and Department of Human Services’ divisions, but TCIP’s work with the Addictions and Mental Health Division (AMH) has been particularly important. According to the HHS Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan, people with chronic mental illness consume 44% of all cigarettes sold.5 As a result of the disproportionate burden affecting people with chronic mental illness, statewide policy changes are underway at community-based residential mental health and addiction treatment facilities. Changes include requiring 100-percent smoke-free campuses; prohibiting staff from distributing tobacco products to residents; and mandating integration of smoking cessation into discharge planning. Prior to implementation of TCIP, fewer than 15 percent of AMH facilities had smoke-free campuses. As a result of TCIP’s efforts, AMH changed its policy to work toward making facilities 100-percent tobacco free.6
Since the initiation of the Oregon Tobacco Prevention and Education Program, tobacco use and consumption have decreased. Specifically, the percentage of adults who smoke decreased by 26.0% and per-capita cigarette consumption decreased 48.0%.7 Oregon is committed to engaging its communities and creating places where everyone can live tobacco free.
1 National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Tobacco Use: Targeting the Nation’s Leading Killer, At a Glance 2011. Atlanta, GA. http://www.phtc-online.org/learning/courses/TD/reference/Tobacco_AAG_201...
5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Ending the Tobacco Epidemic: A Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, DC: Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, November 2010.
Oregon Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP)
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