Tobacco use is the number one preventable cause of death, but about 800 Vermonters still die each year from tobacco-related diseases. Given this morbidity and mortality, three goals guide the work of the Tobacco Control Program: prevent youth smoking; reduce adult smoking; reduce exposure to second-hand-smoke. The Health Department Tobacco Control Program employs Centers for Disease Control and Prevention best practice in four key areas to address these goals:
Cessation services help Vermonters quit smoking through the Quitline, Quit Partners, or Quit Online as part of 802Quits. These services are evidence-based and greatly increase the changes a smoker will quit successfully. The program also partners to provide nicotine replacement therapy
Mass Reach Media, including hard-hitting ads, is shown to be effective in reaching those who smoke and inciting them to reach out to 802Quits. This includes television, radio, and social media efforts.
State and community interventions raise awareness on the actions decision makers can take to reduce the toll of tobacco. These include educating decision makers about passing smoke-free policies at local parks and playgrounds, which reduce secondhand smoke exposure and create positive social norms around tobacco use, and changing the tobacco retail environment, where exposure to product and advertising causes youth tobacco initiation. The Vermont Department of Health and the Agency of Education fund two youth tobacco prevention groups – Our Voices Xposed (OVX) in high schools and Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT) in middle schools.
Surveillance and evaluation ensure the program stays on track and uses data to drive programmatic decision making. The Tobacco Control Program invests in data collection, analysis, and dissemination to partners in and outside of government.