SmokeLess States National Tobacco Policy Initiative

From 1993 to 2004, SmokeLess States: Statewide Tobacco Prevention and Control Initiative (renamed in July 2000 SmokeLess States®: National Tobacco Policy Initiative) supported statewide efforts to reduce tobacco use, particularly among children and youth.

SmokeLess States made grants to 48 statewide coalitions and two other coalitions (in the District of Columbia and Tucson, Ariz.) working in partnership with community groups to develop and implement comprehensive tobacco-control programs that included education, treatment and policy initiatives.

Beginning in 2000, the program shifted its focus to policy change only with a focus on comprehensive clean indoor air laws and tobacco tax increases, and expanded Medicaid coverage for tobacco dependence treatment to find matching funds which were used to support lobbying activities focused on policy change. No RWJF funds were used for these activities.

Key Results

  • Coalition policy campaigns, underwritten by their matching funds, led to increased excise taxes in 35 SmokeLess States, clean indoor air legislation in 10 states and ordinances to restrict youth access to tobacco products in 13 states.

  • Eight coalitions defeated or blocked preemption bills and four states repealed or partially repealed preemption.

  • The SmokeLess States grantees secured funds (at least $10 million) for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs from the $206 billion Master Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry signed in 1998.

Administration: To oversee the projects, RWJF established the SmokeLess States national program office at the American Medical Association (AMA) in Chicago. Thomas P. Houston, MD, director of the AMA's Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, served as national program director. The first deputy director was Kathleen C. Harty, MEd. She was succeeded by Donna Grande, MGA, who was promoted to program co-director in 2000.