The California Tobacco Control Program is a program of the California Department of Public Health. A leader for over 30 years, the California Tobacco Control Program works diligently to keep tobacco out of the hands of youth, help tobacco users quit, and ensure that all Californians can live, work, play, and learn in tobacco-free environments. We focus on changing social norms surrounding tobacco to make it less desirable, less acceptable and less accessible.
In 1989 when our program began, one in five adults smoked. Today, less than one in 10 adults smoke, a decline of nearly 60 percent. California’s efforts have saved more than one million lives and over $134 billion in healthcare costs for the state. Our vision for a comprehensive statewide tobacco control program funded by a tobacco tax altered the trajectory of tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases in California. It fundamentally changed the structure, implementation, and evaluation of tobacco use prevention and cessation programs in California, the nation, and the world.
For over three decades, the California Tobacco Control Program and its partners have built public health community capacity, resulting in a wealth of diverse, talented people and organizations. As we mark our program’s 30th anniversary, we celebrate our accomplishments and consider how the past will shape our next steps. Guiding the future is a bold vision to end the tobacco epidemic in California.
California has the talent, the resources, and the political will to do this. Now is the time to lean into ending the tobacco epidemic in California.
Gordon Sloss, MPA
Branch Chief, California Tobacco Control Program
California Department of Public Health
The mission of the California Tobacco Control Program is to improve the health of all Californians by reducing illness and premature death attributable to the use of tobacco products. Through leadership, experience and research, the California Tobacco Control Program empowers statewide and local health agencies to promote health and quality of life by advocating social norms that create a tobacco-free environment.
The goal of the California Tobacco Control Program is to change the social norms surrounding tobacco use by “indirectly influencing current and potential future tobacco users by creating a social milieu and legal climate in which tobacco becomes less desirable, less acceptable, and less accessible.” To change tobacco-related social norms, the California Tobacco Control Program funds a statewide media campaign and state and community interventions which focus on policy, system, and environmental change in four priority areas:
1. Limit Tobacco Promoting Influences. Efforts in this area seek to curb advertising and marketing tactics used to promote tobacco products and their use, counter the glamorization of tobacco use through entertainment and social media venues, expose tobacco industry practices, and hold tobacco companies accountable for the impact of their products on people and the environment.
2. Reduce Exposure to Secondhand Smoke, Tobacco Smoke Residue, Tobacco Waste, and Other Tobacco Products. Efforts in this area address the impact of tobacco use on people, other living organisms, and the physical environment resulting from exposure to: secondhand smoke, tobacco smoke residue, tobacco waste, and other non-combustible tobacco products.
3. Reduce the Availability of Tobacco. Efforts in this area address the sale, distribution, sampling, or furnishing of tobacco products and other nicotine containing products that are not specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for nicotine or tobacco dependence.
4. Promote Tobacco Cessation. Efforts in this area include the provision of free cessation assistance in six languages and for the hearing impaired through Kick It California and efforts to improve awareness, access, and availability of cessation support offered by the health care system, health care plans, and employers.