Tobacco Policy

HHS Tobacco Strategic Plan Launch: Stakeholder Call with Assistant Secretary Dr. Howard Koh

by Emilia Dunham

Reporting on the stakeholder call with Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Howard Koh




The Department of Health and Human Services unveiled a comprehensive tobacco strategy just this morning.

For more information on the announcement, go their website.

This afternoon, there was a stakeholder call with Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Howard Koh. Dr. Koh discussed how resources from the FDA, Recovery Act and Affordable Care Act are being used in a new strategy to combat tobacco. After Secretary Sebelius listed tobacco as a priority, there is now a new framework.

Pillars/goals of the Department’s framework include

1)      Engage public and change social norms around tobacco use

2)      Continue support for communities in evidenced tobacco control interventions ($250 million into tobacco control into states and communities to be used)

3)      Expand funding of programs like Medicaid for comprehensive coverage of tobacco control. Part of this includes reducing health disparities and reaching out to vulnerable populations.

4)      Advance knowledge and research

More about the strategyGraphic images that depict the dangers of smoking will be required on all tobacco products and advertisements as mandated in a 2 year timeline in which cigarettes cannot be manufactured without the new graphic health warnings.

The FDA will be choosing 9 health statements and 3 pictures for their warning labels, and will be evaluating their consumer efficacy. These are available for public viewing. Tobacco companies will have until September 2012 to show on their products when these images and statements will be mandated. The website also directs you how to make public comment on these regulations.

HHS conference policy means that communities hosting HHS events or conferences must have sufficient smoke-free policies which covers workplaces and restaurants, but excludes casino and bar policies.

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