Objective Status

  • 23 Baseline only
  • 0 Developmental
  • 1 Research

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Tobacco Use Workgroup Objectives (24)

About the Workgroup

Approach and Rationale

Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the United States. Each year, cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths in the United States. Additionally, more than 16 million Americans suffer from at least one disease caused by smoking.1

Although conventional cigarette smoking has markedly declined among adolescents in recent decades, the tobacco product landscape continues to rapidly diversify through new product types like electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes). In recent years, youth e-cigarette use has emerged as a public health issue of increasing national importance. This is evidenced by state, local, and territorial strategies to reduce youth e-cigarette initiation and population exposure to e-cigarette aerosol.

Core objectives selected by the TU Workgroup aim to reduce illness, disability, and death related to tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Research has identified effective strategies that can help end the tobacco use epidemic, such as increasing the price of tobacco products, enacting comprehensive smoke-free policies, expanding access to cessation treatments, and implementing hard-hitting anti-tobacco media campaigns.2

Developmental and research objectives highlight high-priority public health issues that lack data or evidence. The TU Workgroup selected one research objective that focuses on key needs related to smoke-free policies in multiunit housing. As more data become available, this research objective may become core objectives.

TU objectives and targets align with several federal strategies and priorities, including CDC’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.2,3 All Healthy People 2030 core objectives meet several criteria — for example, they have baseline data, a direct impact on health, and an evidence base. The TU Workgroup also considered public health impact and overall burden of disease in developing its objectives.

Emerging Issues in Tobacco Use

Preventing tobacco product use among youth is critical to decreasing related illness and death because nearly all tobacco product use begins during adolescence or young adulthood — around 9 in 10 adult cigarette smokers started before age 18.1,4

The sustained implementation of population-based strategies, along with regulation of tobacco products by the Food and Drug Administration, is critical to preventing and reducing all forms of tobacco product use among youth.1,4,5 Strategies to reduce use and initiation among youth include increasing prices of tobacco products, eliminating exposure to secondhand smoke and e-cigarette aerosol, sustaining hard-hitting media campaigns, and restricting youth access to tobacco products. Strategies to restrict youth access include increasing the minimum age for purchase of tobacco products to 21 and prohibiting the sale of flavored tobacco products.1,4,5,6



U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). The Health Consequences of Smoking — 50 Years of Progress [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK179276/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK179276.pdf


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2014). Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs — 2014. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/stateandcommunity/best_practices/pdfs/2014/comprehensive.pdf


U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. (2013). Tobacco Use in Children and Adolescents: Primary Interventions. Retrieved from https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/UpdateSummaryFinal/tobacco-use-in-children-and-adolescents-primary-care-interventions


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). 2012 Surgeon General’s Report. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK99237/pdf/Bookshelf_NBK99237.pdf


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2016). E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults: A Report of the Surgeon General [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/sgr/e-cigarettes/pdfs/2016_sgr_entire_report_508.pdf


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2018). Surgeon General’s Advisory on E-cigarette Use Among Youth [PDF file]. Retrieved from https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/surgeon-generals-advisory-on-e-cigarette-use-among-youth-2018.pdf