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(A Program of the Division of Addiction Services)
Prevention Services Unit

Strategic Plan For A Comprehensive
Tobacco Control Program

Introduction

 

Through the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) between the states and the tobacco companies, New Jersey now has an historic opportunity to create and implement a sustained, comprehensive tobacco control program to decrease tobacco use. Under the leadership of Governor Whitman, twenty percent (20%) of the first payment of settlement funds will be dedicated for such a program. This goal cannot be achieved by state and local governments alone. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) remains committed to partnering with community and legislative leaders, health professional societies, advocacy groups including New Jersey Breathes, the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association, New Jersey GASP, regional "Communities Against Tobacco," and educators to achieve this vision.

Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death and disease in New Jersey. Each year too many New Jerseyans have a diagnosis of cancer, cardiac, pulmonary, and other diseases which significantly impact their quality of life. Each year more than 12,830 New Jersey residents die of diseases directly related to tobacco use.1 DHSS considers limiting tobacco use to be of the highest priority.

The problem of tobacco use is community-wide. Exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) increases the health risks for smokers and non-smokers. Medical expenditures associated with tobacco-related illnesses affect people directly as individuals and indirectly as taxpayers.2 The annual cost of treating these diseases in New Jersey exceeds $1.7 billion a year.3

Research has demonstrated that when community partnerships are created they can produce long-term health improvements within their populations.4 When community partners are included in the overall development and implementation of a comprehensive tobacco plan, there is increased commitment by the community to address the problem of tobacco use and to help in shifting community norms to non-acceptance of tobacco use. Altering community norms can produce changes in attitudes and behaviors surrounding tobacco use and reduce its negative impact on New Jerseyans.5

New Jersey's position in the busy Northeastern corridor as a transportation hub of super-highways and the traffic from the State's airports means that a sustained tobacco control program would reach its nearly 8 million residents, as well as the thousands of visitors who come to New Jersey for its rich history, sandy beaches and award-winning arts programs. We will have the opportunity to use the tollbooths of the highways and the walkways of the airports to promote the message that New Jersey cares about people, wants to ensure that they are protected from the dangers of tobacco smoke, and works to prevent youth from starting to smoke.

The purpose of this plan is to outline the mission, goals and overall strategic framework that form the basis of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services' (DHSS) Implementation Plan for a statewide, comprehensive program to limit tobacco use in New Jersey. A successful program must include all components outlined in this plan as they build upon one another. No single component alone can effectively reduce tobacco use. In the program's first year program components will be developed based on a budget of $18.6 million. DHSS envisions that these components will be expanded based on a substantial increase in dedicated funds in future years. This five part program includes a youth tobacco awareness/marketing and communications campaign, community partnerships, programs focused on youth, treatment of nicotine addiction (cessation) and evaluation. Increased funds will be needed to fully implement a comprehensive tobacco control program in New Jersey.

The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) represents a once in a lifetime opportunity for New Jersey policy makers. Given adequate and sustained support for tobacco control, New Jersey can ensure that the children born in the Year 2000 and beyond can be free from the ravages of tobacco.

This document may only be reproduced in its entirety. No portion of this document may be reproduced without the permission of the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

1999 New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

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