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Press Release

For Immediate Release: November 14, 2000
Contact: CDC Media Relations (404) 639-3286

Report will help communities and healthcare systems decrease tobacco use and reduce environmental tobacco smoke exposure.

The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent non-federal public health panel, reported that scientific evidence now proves the effectiveness of many of the most common methods used by communities around the country to prevent or reduce tobacco use. The 15-member Task Force concluded there is enough evidence to recommend the use of nine specific strategies to prevent the uptake of tobacco use by young people, improving quitting among adult smokers, and reducing the public's exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.

On Thursday, November 16, the American Cancer Society will sponsor its 24th annual "Great American Smokeout" to encourage the approximately 47 million adult smokers in the United States to quit smoking for at least one day. "Today, more than ever, smokers have a number of resources available to improve their ability to quit," said CDC Director Dr. Jeffrey Koplan. "In addition, the Task Force recommendations come at a critical juncture as the public health community expands its commitment to combating tobacco use. The recommendations will help communities and healthcare systems choose interventions that work and are well-matched to their needs and capabilities in implementing tobacco control programs in a variety of settings and populations."

After an extensive literature review, the Task Force analyzed in depth 166 published scientific studies on selected tobacco control interventions. The report highlights 14 strategies evaluated by the Task Force, of which nine are either strongly recommended or recommended.

  • Smoking bans and restrictions (through policies, regulations, and laws) are strongly recommended to reduce exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.
  • Increasing the unit price of cigarette products is strongly recommended to reduce both initiation and consumption of tobacco by adolescents. This strategy is also strongly recommended to increase tobacco use cessation.
  • Mass media education campaigns featuring long-term high-intensity counter-advertising are strongly recommended for reducing tobacco use initiation, particularly when combined with other interventions including tobacco price increases and community- or school-based education programs. This strategy is also strongly recommended to increase tobacco use cessation, particularly when used with other interventions.
  • Tobacco use cessation telephone counseling, in conjunction with other interventions such as patient education, is strongly recommended in both clinical and community settings. Mass media campaigns are shown to be effective in increasing use of telephone "quitlines".
  • Healthcare provider reminder systems alone, or in conjunction with provider education are strongly recommended to increase quitting.
  • Reducing patient out-of-pocket costs for effective cessation treatments is recommended to increase patient use of available clinical interventions and to increase the total number of patients who quit.

The study was released in the November 10 issue of CDC's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)," Recommendation and Reports series. A full report containing the Task Force's recommendations and the supporting evidence will be published in 2001 in the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine." The Task Force will continue reviewing interventions to reduce tobacco use and will publish reviews and recommendations regarding restrictions on minors' access to tobacco, school-base education, and restrictions on the tobacco industry and tobacco products later in 2001.

To obtain the Surgeon General's Report on "Reducing Tobacco Use, CDC's Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs", and other tobacco-related information, visit the CDC's Office on Smoking and Health web site at or call 770-488-5705 (press 2 for publications). Links to the online version of the "MMWR Recommendations Report" will also be available on the web site.

The report on tobacco use is the Task Force's second completed chapter of its overall Guide to Community Preventive Services. The first report focused on vaccine-preventable diseases. Other health topics planned for 2000-2001 include motor vehicle occupant injury, oral health, sexual behavior, physical activity, cancer, and the sociocultural environment. Additional information regarding the Task Force and the Community Guide is available on the Internet at

CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.


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