Community Based Programs

Community-based/Medical-based prevention strategies can be another effective way to reduce tobacco use in the population. Community prevention interventions have the potential to reach a wide audience.

Community-based/Medical-based prevention strategies offer a promising solution to reducing and preventing the initiation of smoking and tobacco use. Community/Medical based prevention interventions can focus on altering tobacco use behavior, promoting tobacco use change within the community, and/or passing and enforcing anti-tobacco legislation. Below are just a few of the effective strategies that can be implemented in a community and/or medical setting to reduce tobacco use initiation and/or promote cessation.

Awareness Campaigns/Media Coverage

Tobacco advertising and promotion activities appear to simultaneously encourage adult consumption and to increase the risk of youth initiation. Thus, counter-marketing strategies can be powerful tools to counteract the influence of tobacco promotion. Highlighted below are just a few Awareness Campaigns:

  • The Cigar Trap:  The Cigar Trap is a public health awareness and education campaign brought to you by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The purpose of this campaign is to call attention to the growing problem of non-premium cigarillo (small cigars) and little cigar (“brown cigarette”) use among underage youth in Maryland.  Part of the mission of this campaign is to increase Marylander's awareness that non-premium cigarillo and little cigar use is a real and growing issue among youth, and cigars are just as dangerous, toxic and addictive as cigarettes. Cigarillos and little cigars are available in a myriad of seemingly harmless fruit and candy flavorings that mask the harshness of tobacco and make the products more enticing to youth.
  • Truth Initiative, formerly the American Legacy Foundation: The Truth Initiative has used selling tactics similar to those used by consumer marketers. They are trying to sell teens (12-17) on not smoking cigarettes. Data in the USA suggests that 80 percent of all adult smokers begin smoking regularly before the age of 18. Farrelly and colleagues reported finding that the organization's truth® campaign prevented hundreds of thousands of youth from initiating smoking in a 2 year period. In a study done in 2009, it was shown that antitobacco beliefs and attitudes increased steadily during the first 3 years of the truth campaign. More can be found on their website:

Other Community Strategies

  • Maryland Clean Indoor Air Act The act was signed into law on May 17, 2007. The act prohibits smoking in all indoor workplaces in order to “preserve and improve the health, comfort, and environment of the people of Maryland by limiting exposure to environmental tobacco smoke.”  The law provides for fair and consistent statewide protection from exposure to secondhand smoke in indoor settings. 
  • Community Based Smoke- Free Coalition Community Based Coalitions consist of members in the community with a common goal of changing policy. Smoke-Free Coalitions consist of people within the community with a common interest to educate and change policy on smoking. Coalitions can come from any type of community setting such as schools, neighborhoods, and even counties. School based coalitions in Maryland include Students Together Organizing Prevention Strategies (S.T.O.P.S.) which tries to educate and prevent teens from smoking.



American Lung Association. (2016). State of Tobacco Control 2016: State at a Glance: 

SAMHSA, HHS: Calculated based on data in 2005 National Household Survey on Drug Use and Health [].

Farrelly, M. C., Davis, K. C., Haviland, M. L., Messeri, P. & Healton, C. G. (2005). Evidence of a Dose-Response Relationship Between "truth" Antismoking Ads and Youth Smoking Prevalence. American Journal of Public Health, 95, 425 - 431.

Farrelly, M. C., Davis, K. C., Duke, J., & Messeri, P. (2009). Sustaining 'truth': Changes in youth tobacco attitudes and smoking intentions after 3 years of a national antismoking campaign. Health Education Research, 24(1), 42-48. doi: 10.1093/her/cym087