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Tobacco Education Research Oversight Committee Releases Ambitious Master Plan

Tobacco Education Research Oversight Committee Releases Ambitious Master Plan

California has made strides in reducing tobacco use over the past two decades. So much so, that its overall smoking rate of 15% is second only to Utah’s 12.2% for the lowest in the United States. This is a great feat for a state that is by far the most populous in the country. 

In 1990, the California Department of Public Health started the California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) to prevent children from starting to smoke, help smokers quit, and create tobacco free environments. Over the last 25 years, the CTCP has helped save over 1 million lives and over $86 billion in health care costs

Another key component of California’s tobacco prevention efforts is the Tobacco Education Research Oversight Committee (TEROC), which oversees the use of tobacco tax revenues for tobacco prevention activities and research. This week, TEROC released its latest master plan, Changing Landscape, Countering New Threats 2015 -2017. While this document acknowledges California’s successes in reducing tobacco use, it also highlights five key threats that the state will need to address in the coming years:

  • Insufficient tobacco excise taxes to effectively discourage tobacco use initiation by youth and continued use by all tobacco users
  • Insufficient funding to maintain a comprehensive tobacco control program
  • Failure to comprehensively regulate sales, marketing, and distribution of tobacco-related products, including electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes)
  • Legislative and regulatory exceptions which fail to equally protect all people and communities from exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke
  • Magnitude of spending by the tobacco industry and related interest groups to undermine California’s success decreasing smoking prevalence, saving lives, reducing costs, and changing social norms

The comprehensive plan offers recommendations and highlights strategies that have been successful on the local level. For anyone interested in learning more about California’s efforts to reduce tobacco use, this is a great place to start.

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