What’s Happening in Tobacco Prevention & Cessation?


Tad Spencer, Director of Tobacco Prevention Initiatives

May 4, 2016

Below, we have compiled a brief list of recent happenings and campaigns from the world of tobacco prevention.

This Free Life Campaign (LGBT young adults)

With the 2009 Tobacco Control Act that (finally) gave the FDA authority to oversee tobacco products, new campaigns have been developed to help reduce tobacco initiation and use within priority populations. The LGBT communities have often been overlooked in public health, and this recently launched campaign looks to reduce the negative impacts of tobacco use by emphasizing peer-to-peer education and dissemination.

From the FDA:

LGBT young adults are nearly twice as likely to use tobacco as other young adults, ultimately resulting in the loss of tens of thousands of LGBT lives to tobacco use each year. “This Free Life” is FDA’s public education campaign designed to prevent and reduce tobacco use among LGBT young adults who use tobacco occasionally. The campaign encourages these young adults to draw inspiration from their peers to also live tobacco-free.

The Real Cost – Smokeless Tobacco Campaign

For many rural American areas, smokeless tobacco (e.g. chew or dip) has deep roots in culture, norms, and traditions. Unfortunately, many of the negative effects disproportionately affect these communities. The FDA’s “The Real Cost” campaign, focused on teens, has now expanded to include messaging for smokeless tobacco. The campaign is also partnering with Minor League Baseball for summer promotions this year.

From the FDA:

In April 2016, “The Real Cost” expanded its campaign brand umbrella to include new advertising targeting rural male youth ages 12-17 at risk of smokeless tobacco use. These ads air in 35 targeted local markets around the country. “The Real Cost” Smokeless Tobacco Prevention Campaign will also have a presence during games in 25 Minor League Baseball stadiums this summer, including sponsoring in-stadium events, running TV ads on stadium monitors, placing print ads in and around the stadium, and providing opportunities for fans to engage with players who support FDA’s smokeless tobacco prevention efforts.

Knock Tobacco Out of the Park

Knock Tobacco Out of the Park is an innovative public health policy campaign designed to eliminate the use of tobacco in ballparks and stadiums and reduce the influence of tobacco use on youth.

From the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids:

For years, public health leaders have urged Major League Baseball (MLB) and the MLB Players Association to end smokeless tobacco use in baseball, but they have not done so. To protect our kids, cities and states must now act and prohibit all tobacco use at baseball venues across the country. Players’ use of smokeless tobacco sets a terrible example for millions of impressionable youth. Our national pastime should be about promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, not a deadly and addictive product.

San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City have recently passed ordinances prohibiting smokeless tobacco use at sporting venues, including their major league stadiums. A statewide law in California will take effect before the 2017 season. Once all of these laws are implemented, one-third of major league stadiums will be tobacco-free, and other MLB cities are considering similar measures.

8th National Summit on Smokeless and Spit Tobacco

The summit was held April 18 – 20, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, bringing together health educators, researchers, and practitioners who devote time and energy to prevention and treatment of smokeless tobacco use. Smoking receives the majority of attention and funding, though smokeless tobacco is not harmless. During the proceedings, the FDA officially launched their new smokeless The Real Cost campaign. The summit also featured sessions on e-cigarettes and what evidence we have of their impact on traditional tobacco use. Unfortunately, it appears nothing conclusive can be drawn at this time. More research is needed for this ever-expanding public health issue.

NASPA staff coordinated a breakout session with advisors from Montana (Montana Tech, Montana State University Billings, University of Montana, and University of Montana Western) showcasing the outstanding work they have done implementing tobacco-free policies.

2017 National Conference on Tobacco or Health

The National Conference on Tobacco or Health (NCTOH) is one of the largest, long-standing gatherings of the United States tobacco control movement. It attracts a diverse set of public health professionals to learn about best practices and policies to reduce tobacco use-the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the United States.

The 2017 NCTOH will be held March 22 - 24, 2017 in Austin, Texas. Registration and a call for programs open in June.

NASPA Can Help You Become Tobacco Free

Within our BACCHUS Initiatives staff, we have expertise and higher education-specific knowledge of tobacco policy and cessation methods. We offer customized training and technical assistance to campuses, whether you are just starting to look at tobacco-free policy, looking to improve compliance with policy, or want to be more effective in helping students quit. More information is available here, or feel free to contact Tad Spencer, Director of Tobacco Prevention Initiatives. 

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