About this Toolkit
Why is a tobacco-free policy toolkit needed?
The majority of Americans are not dying from infectious disease or genetics, but from chronic and modifiable behaviors (McGinnis et al., 2002; Mokdad et al., 2004). Tobacco use remains the most preventable cause of illness in the United States (US DHHS, 2004). To assist people to lead meaningful lives in their communities, healthcare and social services agencies need to promote behaviors that lead to health. Creating a tobacco-free environment is one of the primary ways that a community healthcare agency can create a safer and healthier environment for both clients and staff. The use of a policy toolkit would be central to the creation of a tobacco-free environment.
Who is this toolkit for?
This toolkit was developed for a broad continuum of public health care organizations and treatment facilities, particularly those organizations serving persons with mental illnesses and addictions. The materials are intended for administrators, direct providers, and support staff of organizations considering or implementing tobacco-free policies.
How do I use this toolkit?
This toolkit contains a variety of effective community-level strategies and step-by-step instructions to:
• Assess organizational readiness to go tobacco-free
• Implement tobacco-free policies
• Provide tobacco cessation services and referrals as policies take effect
Policy change facilitates and reinforces behavior change. Smoking bans in workplaces lead to less tobacco use and an average of 72% reduction in secondhand smoke exposure (Task Force on Community Preventive Services, 2005). Also, there is significant evidence that smoking cessation interventions are very effective (US DHHS, 2010; Fiore et al., 2008), and that persons with mental illnesses and addictions can successfully quit using tobacco (Evins et al., 2005; George et al., 2002).