Tobacco Control Program


The Tobacco Control Program works to eliminate tobacco-related disease by creating environments that make it harder for people to start using and continue using tobacco Preventing tobacco use and exposure to second and third-hand smoke is critical to the health of our state and the Tobacco Control Program relies heavily on informative statewide educational initiatives, innovative traditional and social media campaigns, state and local data collection and dissemination, and funding of cessation services to accomplish this goal.

Accomplishments and Milestones

  • Rhode Islanders are kicking the habit.
    Rhode Island’s adult smoking rate has seen a dramatic reduction from 23% in 2001 to 17.4% in 2012. RI BRFSS 2000, 2012
  • Rhode Island youth refuse to be "replacements".
    For every customer that dies, tobacco companies look for a replacement Rhode Island is winning though. The youth cigarette smoking rate has plummeted from 35% in 2001 to 8.1% in 2013. Rhode Island is proud to have the second lowest youth smoking rate in the US. RI HS YRBS 2001, 2013
  • Rhode Islanders can breathe easier.
    Smoke-free Workplace Law: On June 29, 2004, Rhode Island became the seventh state in the nation to pass into law a bill that prohibits smoking in public places and workplaces in Rhode Island. more
  • Rhode Islanders can get the help they need.
    If you or someone you know are ready to quit smoking, there are a number of ways to get help
    • Health insurers now cover cessation services: In August of 2009, The Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner's Regulation 14 has required health insurers to offer broader coverage of smoking cessation services. more
    • The TCP has created to provide information on cessation resources available to all Rhode Islanders The site also features video from our recent media campaign, motivational ring tones and encouraging personal stories.
    • Cessation services can also be accessed by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)
  • Smoking is an expensive habit.
    Rhode Island has consistently increased the cigarette excise tax rate, making smoking difficult to afford RI currently has the third highest tax rate in the US at $3.50 per pack. High prices for cigarettes increase quit attempts, especially among young and lower income smokers. Subscribe to the our e-newsletter and stay up to date on the latest Tobacco Control initiative and news.

What We Do

Because the Tobacco Control Movement has been active for decades, we know what works Our program operates within the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's proven "best practice" strategies to guide and direct the overall programmatic work plan.

These best practices include:

Prevent the initiation of tobacco use among young people

"Don't be a replacement. Be an Original." The TCP launched "Be an Original", a youth-focused anti-tobacco media campaign in February of 2012. The campaign highlights Big Tobacco's deceptive youth marketing strategies and the dangers of all tobacco products Campaign mascot Tobacco Control Crab engages youth in online discussions on the impact of tobacco on our environment as well as tobacco industry animal testing Join the conversation on Twitter @RITCCrab and learn more at

Providence, in partnership with the TCP was also one of 44 communities nation-wide to receive American Reinvestment and Recovery Act - funded Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) grants. The funding allowed us to collaborate with the Providence Mayor’s Substance Abuse Prevention Council to alert parents and teens of the dangers of newly emerging flavored and smokeless tobacco products marketed toward a younger generation of tobacco users as part of the Sweet Deceit Campaign.

Promote quitting among young people and adults

"Hard, yes Impossible, no." We launched a comprehensive cessation media campaign in March of 2011, which included mobile text messaging, television, radio, and outdoor advertising, and the creation of a website which provides a continuously updated list of cessation resources throughout the state more

Eliminate nonsmokers' exposure to secondhand smoke

"Proud to be smoke-free." We launched the "Live Smoke Free" media campaign in March of 2012 The campaign included television, radio, and outdoor advertising in addition to the creation of a website of resources for housing authorities, landlords and tenants to learn more about adopting smoke-free policies within multi-unit housing

In Rhode Island 22 out of 25 housing authorities have adopted smoke-free policies Using CPPW funding, we were able to collaborate with several organizations to advise many of them on the benefits, steps toward adoption, and enforcement of such policies. more

We are currently partnering with a handful of community organizations to advise others on adopting smoke-free policies in outdoor areas. These include college campuses, restaurants and cafes patios, parks, and beaches

Identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities among targeted populations

Health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. The six national priority populations are 1) African Americans, 2) American Indians/Alaska Natives, 3) Asian/Pacific Islanders, 4) Hispanics/Latinos, 5) Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender persons (LGBT), and 6) low socioeconomic status populations.

Priority populations experience increased targeting by the tobacco industry and have rates of cigarette smoking and use of other tobacco products that are substantially higher than average national tobacco use rates Priority populations for tobacco control and prevention in Rhode Island were selected based on the work of national tobacco networks, other national-level work on subpopulations of smokers, and by local Rhode Island data They include African Americans, pregnant women, adults with disabilities and/or chronic diseases, persons with low socioeconomic status, and adults with serious mental health conditions.


Funding comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State of Rhode Island. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended funding levels between $10 and $22 million to conduct an effective program. Currently the program is funded well below the $10 million minimum level.

Program Publications


  • Emergency Regulations: Banning The Sale Of Flavored ENDS Products, What Businesses Need to Know (English) (Spanish)
















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