Washington’s Tobacco Prevention and Control Plan is the state’s first comprehensive effort to protect children from tobacco and decrease the use of tobacco products. The plan is comprised of six key elements: community-based programs, school-based programs, cessation, public awareness and education, youth access restriction, and assessment and evaluation.
There is considerable evidence that public education efforts, community and school-based programs, smoking cessation programs, and strict enforcement of laws that restrict youth access to tobacco products can each significantly reduce tobacco use. Research and experience also show that these individual elements are most effective when they are integrated into a comprehensive program. Just one year after the initiation of Minnesota’s comprehensive tobacco prevention program, tobacco use declined 25% among teens aged 12-17. Less than two years after the initiation of Florida’s comprehensive tobacco program targeted at youth, smoking was reduced by 40% among middle school students and 18% among high school students.
History: In November 1998, 46 states and 5 territories came to a $195 billion agreement to settle outstanding lawsuits against the tobacco industry. For its part, Washington state received $323 million in the 1999-2001 biennium and is slated to receive approximately $4 billion through 2025.
The 1999 Washington legislature dedicated $100 million of the settlement funds for tobacco prevention. As a result, the Department of Health appointed a council to recommend the most effective tobacco prevention and control measures. With these recommendations in hand, the Department of Health developed the Tobacco Prevention and Control Plan (TPCP), with a request for $26.2 million for fiscal year 2001. The 1999 report estimated that this level of funding could prevent 84,000 deaths and save more than $3 billion in medical costs over 10 years.