BOSTON (August 6, 2018) - The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) is awarding more than $6 million over the next four years to prevent nicotine use and improve public health. The funding will strengthen capacity in 182 cities and towns to enact and enforce policies, systems, and environmental changes that reduce tobacco use, protect the public from secondhand smoke and youth from exposure to tobacco and vaping industry tactics.
“Massachusetts continues to develop comprehensive approaches to reduce tobacco and nicotine use among young people and adults,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders. “Local communities throughout the state will use this funding to build and strengthen their efforts to educate the public about the health effects of tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke, and direct individuals to cessation resources.”
The funding, a combination of state and federal dollars, will help local communities establish and maintain comprehensive tobacco control programs based on the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Best Practices designed to:
``For more than 20 years, DPH’s efforts have resulted in significant progress in preventing tobacco use and helping smokers quit for good,” said Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel M.D, MPH. “Despite this progress, these awards come at a time when vaping rates among youth are 9 times higher than adults.”
The following 16 municipal health departments will work in partnership with neighboring cities and towns to reduce the influence of the tobacco and vaping industries on communities. Awardees are listed below with their annual award amounts, which total $1.5 million:
On July 27th Governor Baker signed H4486, An Act protecting youth from the health risks of tobacco and nicotine addiction, which raises the legal age to buy tobacco products statewide from 18 to 21. The new law broadens existing prohibitions on public smoking to include e-cigarettes and prohibits the use of tobacco products on the grounds of any public or private primary, secondary, or vocational school. Additionally, pharmacies, hospitals, or other entities that offer health care services or employ any licensed health care providers are prohibited from selling tobacco products.
Earlier this month, DPH launched its first statewide public information campaign to educate parents of middle and high school-aged children about the dangers of vape pens and e-cigarettes. The campaign, The New Look of Nicotine Addiction, seeks to spread the word that these high-tech products are harmful and that they contain nicotine which can damage a teenager’s developing brain and lead to addiction.
To learn more about DPH’s comprehensive approach to reduce the health and economic burden of tobacco use visit www.mass.gov/dph/mtcp.