RHA’s Tobacco Control Initiatives

Respiratory Health Association is committed to achieving a tobacco-free future for all.

RHA encourages all smokers to quit and all young people to lead tobacco-free lives. Our tobacco control efforts focus on preventing tobacco initiation, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke, and increasing access to smoking cessation resources, especially in communities with the greatest need. We pursue each one of these goals through a number of evidence-based strategies, outlined below.

Preventing Tobacco Initiation

Here are some of the ways RHA works to prevent tobacco use:

Tobacco Pricing

Increasing the unit price of tobacco products is one of most effective strategies to prevent youth tobacco initiation and reduce overall tobacco use. Research suggests that with every 10% increase in the price of cigarettes, youth smoking rates are reduced by 6.5% and adult smoking rates are reduced by 2%.  (Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids)

Point of Sale Policies

The tobacco industry spends nearly $8 billion per year on marketing efforts at the point of sale. Given this focus, point of sale has now become the new target for innovative tobacco control policies and public health interventions.

Tobacco 21

Teenage years are a critical time for tobacco prevention. It is estimated that 95 percent of smokers start before the age of 21. Tobacco 21 was the successful initiative to raise the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21 at the local and state level.

Tobacco Surveillance

The tobacco industry is constantly evolving and adapting. It is the responsibility of tobacco control advocates to keep up with new trends, products, and lobbying efforts.  RHA stays up-to-date in the latest tobacco industry trends, including monitoring new tobacco products such as electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-cigarettes), heat-not-burn products, and hookah.  RHA also researches local tobacco retail density, tobacco marketing campaigns, and industry efforts to undermine prevention policies.

Read RHA’s research into tobacco industry trends in the Tobacco Control section of our Library. If you are interested in bringing innovative tobacco control policies and programs to your community or institution, contact Kelly Nichols, Senior Manager of Policy and Advocacy, via email at knichols@resphealth.org or by phone at (312) 628-0226.

Eliminating Exposure to Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the combination of gases and particles that come off the burning end of a tobacco product or is exhaled by a smoker.  It contains more than 7,000 chemicals, hundreds of which are toxic and at least 70 of which cause cancer, according to the U.S. Surgeon General.  As stated by the U.S. Surgeon General, there is no risk-free level of exposure to secondhand smoke.

Eliminating secondhand smoke from homes, public places and workplaces through the passage of smoke-free laws and policies has been one of the most impactful public health achievements of the last century. In addition to protecting against exposure to secondhand smoke, smoke-free policies are also one of the most effective means of reducing tobacco use.

Increasing Access to Smoking Cessation

RHA works to build the capacity of health systems, behavioral health centers, social service organizations, community based organizations, employers and higher learning institutions to integrate tobacco cessation interventions into their current service offerings to help their patients, clients and employees quit smoking. Learn more about our Courage to Quit® and Counsel to Quit® programs.


Visit our Library for additional tobacco control and smoke-free statistics and citations.

For more information about RHA’s tobacco control efforts, contact Erin Virgo, Program Director, via email at evirgo@resphealth.org.