Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Programs
Official Title: Smoking Prevention and Cessation Programs
This line item funds the Massachusetts Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program (MTCP), which aims to prevent people from starting to smoke and to help people quit smoking. Prevention programs are especially important for children and adolescents, since about 90 percent of smokers begin smoking before the age of 18. Smoking cessation programs are also important, since children whose parents smoke are affected by second hand smoke and are more likely to start smoking themselves.
The MTCP includes a variety of state- and community-based activities:
• Activities that engage young people in anti-smoking efforts and create a youth presence on this issue in local communities. These activities include mini-grants, technical assistance, and support to local youth groups that work to advance anti-tobacco policies on the local level and educate others about the consequences of tobacco use.
• The Smokefree Families program provides technical assistance to landlords and public housing authorities to help them make multi-unit housing smoke free. The program also provides support to social service agencies that want to help in reducing smoking among people enrolled in other programs, such as WIC.
• Funding for local Boards of Health to support surveillance activities, help pass local smoking ordinances, and conduct compliance checks across the state. Technical assistance goes to local health officers, municipal staff, and community agencies to enable them to conduct prevention and other projects. This program includes a focus on retail stores, and thus indirectly benefits young people who might purchase tobacco in these locations.
• The Tobacco Free Community Partnership provides grants to community organizations that work with existing coalitions on prevention and cessation initiatives. Funding from the grants supports activities in eight broad regions across the state, with a focus on getting out the word about the effect of smoking on the community.
• The Massachusetts Smokers' Helpline is a statewide helpline that provides support for smokers who want to quit or need help to stay quit, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School provides technical assistance and training on smoking cessation to health care providers.
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