Pennsylvania’s Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania has been selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Health to serve as the primary contractor for a comprehensive tobacco control program throughout the North Central, South Central and Northeast health districts of Pennsylvania. Following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, the goal of these comprehensive tobacco control programs is to reduce disease, disability and death related to tobacco use by:

  • Preventing the initiation of tobacco use among youth and young adults;
  • Promoting quitting among adults and youth;
  • Eliminating nonsmokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke;
  • Identifying and eliminating tobacco-related disparities among different population groups.
map of tobacco control regions in pennsylvania

Preventing the Initiation of Tobacco Use Among Youth and Young Adults

The Pennsylvania Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) asks high school and middle school students questions about their tobacco-related knowledge, behaviors and attitudes. These data are critical to measuring the macro-level success of prevention initiatives in Pennsylvania.

The Tobacco Resistance Unit is a movement throughout all of Pennsylvania to help youth, between ages 12 and 18, stay tobacco- and nicotine- free. TRU aims to prevent and stop youth tobacco use through education. In coordination with the Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT), American Lung Association in Pennsylvania organizes the existing statewide tobacco control youth movement and recruits new TRU members. TRU members are trained on tobacco control issues and tobacco industry marketing. Learn more at truinpa.org.

American Lung Association’s Intervention for Nicotine Dependence: Education, Prevention, Tobacco and Health (INDEPTH) is a convenient alternative to suspension or citation that helps schools and communities address the teen vaping problem in a more supportive way. Instead of solely focusing on punitive measures, INDEPTH is an interactive program that teaches students about nicotine dependence, establishing healthy alternatives and how to kick the unhealthy addiction that got them in trouble in the first place. The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania conducts outreach to schools for implementation of this program and work closely with schools that participate in TRU and YRBS.  

Tobacco industry spending on marketing is on the rise.  In 2011 cigarette companies spent $23 million every day to market their products in the U.S. An estimated $469.5 million is spent for marketing in Pennsylvania each year.

Tobacco industry advertising is greater in low-income and minority communities.  Additionally, youth cigarette smoking prevalence is also higher in communities with more tobacco retailers and advertising.  To combat these trends, we have joined with the statewide initiative to increase tobacco retailer owner awareness by implementing policies to reduce targeted marketing and sponsorship of tobacco products among vulnerable populations.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania works with the Pennsylvania Department of Health to ensure that all tobacco retail stores are in compliance with advertising, labeling and underage sale laws.

Promoting Quitting Among Adults and Youth

Freedom From Smoking is American Lung Association’s evidence-based group cessation program used for adults. Classes are facilitated by a Lung Association-trained facilitator in a small group setting so that participants receive personalized attention. At the same time, individuals benefit from the support of their peers, who are going through the same stages at the same time. The curriculum includes the latest research about nicotine replacement therapy (gum, inhalers, patches, lozenges and nasal spray) and other smoking cessation medications such as Zyban® and Chantix®. Each clinic session uses techniques based on pharmacological and psychological principles and methods designed to help smokers gain control over their behavior. Because no single cessation technique is effective for all smokers, the program includes a comprehensive variety of evidence-based cessation techniques. Find out more at freedomfromsmoking.org.

Not On Tobacco (N-O-T) is the American Lung Association's voluntary smoking cessation program for teens between the ages of 14 and 19. Over the 10-week program, participants learn to identify their reasons for smoking, healthy alternatives to tobacco use, and people who will support them in their efforts to quit.

The PA Free Quitline is a FREE online and telephonic service available to all Pennsylvanians. Participants receive special tools, a support team of coaches, research-based information, and a community of others trying to become tobacco free. The QuitLogix - Web Referrals allows healthcare and non-healthcare professionals to refer tobacco-using individuals to PA Free Quitline services for expert, evidence-based and confidential coaching to become tobacco-free. Learn more at pa.quitlogix.org.

My Life, My Quit™ is the free and confidential way to quit smoking or vaping. Text "Start My Quit" to 36072 or click to chat with a Coach. Learn more at https://pa.mylifemyquit.org/index.

NOT For Me is a self-guided, online tool that leverages the American Lung Association’s evidence-based N-O-T Not On Tobacco® program to help teens break nicotine dependency, no matter what tobacco products they use. Learn more at https://notforme.org/.

Eliminating Nonsmokers’ Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania educates business owners and the public about the Clean Indoor Air Act 27 of 2008. Providing technical assistance to all businesses and community members who request CIAA information and assistance using the Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control and Pennsylvania Alliance to Control Tobacco (PACT) CIAA toolkit, signage, and fact sheets.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania works to increase the number of school districts that have comprehensive tobacco-free policies and are recognized as members of the Vape-Free Schools Initiative. Being recognized as a member of the American Lung Association Vape-Free Schools Initiative means that your school is a leader in supporting students affected by e-cigarettes, offering clear guidance, education and cessation. With a toolkit of resources, we will help you share your efforts with students, parents, staff and community. The service provider shall identify potential schools districts to promote policy changes, assess campus tobacco policy using the Worksite Campus Tobacco Policy Index to establish a baseline, provide technical assistance to strengthen policies, and reassess the strengthened policies, using the same tool, to document progress made.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania works to increase the number of worksites that have implemented 100 percent tobacco free policies by providing technical assistance, based on assessments of the worksite’s existing policies. The Smokefree-in-a-Box guide is the primary tool for implementation along with the American Lung Association’s Freedom From Smoking® brochures. The service provider shall identify potential worksites, including healthcare facilities, to promote policy changes, assess worksite tobacco policy using the Worksite Tobacco Policy Index to establish a baseline, provide technical assistance to strengthen policies, and reassess the strengthened policies, using the same tool, to document progress made.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania works to increase the number of multi-unit housing providers who implement tobacco-free policies by providing technical assistance to new and existing Multi-Unit partners. The service provider shall identify potential housing providers to promote tobacco-free housing policy changes, assess housing providers’ current tobacco policy, recommend enrollment in the American Lung Association’s Steps for Success: Smokefree Policies in Multi-Unit Housing online training and provide technical assistance to strengthen policies.

Young Lungs at Play is a program aimed to help communities create tobacco-free parks, playgrounds and recreational areas for children. Many Pennsylvania communities have adopted outdoor tobacco-free policies at parks, zoos, athletic fields, playgrounds, trails and even city sidewalks and streets to help protect both children and the environment.

Identifying and Eliminating Tobacco-Related Disparities Among Different Population Groups

To help support regionalization and further improve program effectiveness and cost efficiencies of the mission and goal, the American Lung Association in Pennsylvania has developed a Regional Pennsylvania Tobacco-Free Coalition. The American Lung Association’s Regional Tobacco-Free Coalitions are dedicated to saving lives by eliminating tobacco use and tobacco-related lung disease throughout the Northcentral, Northeast and Southcentral regions of Pennsylvania. This coalition is comprised of local businesses, governments, community institutions and organizations, and learning institutions. The coalition has developed three workgroups: Prevention, Cessation and Advocacy. The coalition invests in programs that foster sustainable change by embedding tobacco prevention and treatment of tobacco use dependency into existing programs and structures. To learn and find more local resources visit rptfc.org.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania is committed to integrating chronic disease prevention into tobacco control programs. The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program is an evidence-based lifestyle change program for preventing type 2 diabetes. The year-long program helps participants make real lifestyle changes such as eating healthier, including physical activity into their daily lives, and improving problem-solving and coping skills. The Diabetes Prevention Program can help people who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes make achievable and realistic lifestyle changes and cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%.

The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania is a part of the Pennsylvania Cancer Coalition (PCC), a statewide cancer coalition working to implement evidence-based approaches to control cancer and strengthen partnerships by exchanging information and identifying and utilizing resources. also The American Lung Association in Pennsylvania co-chairs the Lung Health Workgroup and partners with organizations in Pennsylvania to implement Comprehensive Cancer Control Initiatives.

Page last updated: November 21, 2022

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