The mission of DSHS Tobacco Prevention and Control is to reduce the health effects and economic toll tobacco has placed on the citizens of Texas. Major goals are:
- Prevent tobacco use among young people.
- Promote compliance and support adequate enforcement of federal, state and local tobacco laws.
- Increase cessation among young people and adults.
- Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
- Reduce tobacco use among populations with the highest burden of tobacco-related health disparities.
- Develop and maintain statewide capacity for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control.
Surgeon General’s Report: Tobacco Smoke Does Immediate Damage
Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even just occasional smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can cause immediate damage and poses serious risk of illness or death. That is the major conclusion of a report released by the U.S. Surgeon General.
"There is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke," Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD said. "The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale, causing damage immediately. Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer."
The report, "How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking-Attributable Disease” (PDF) focuses on the changes that tobacco smoke causes to the body — not just of smokers, but also those who breathe secondhand smoke.
Want to Quit?
Contact the American Cancer Society Quitline for free and confidential counseling services, support and information:
You can also visit www.yesquit.org or click "Want to Quit?" on the left side of your screen for more information
These reports present the most recent information on tobacco use, cessation, and prevention in Texas:
Annual Synar Report
In July 1992, Congress enacted a law that included an amendment (Sec. 1926) aimed at decreasing access to tobacco products among individuals under age 18. The goal of the amendment was to reduce the number of successful illegal purchases by minors to no more that 20 percent of attempts in each State. In 1997, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 55 (currently Sec. 161.088 of the Health and Safety Code). The Texas law gives full responsibility for enforcement of the law to the Comptroller of Public Accounts. DSHS, Substance Abuse Services, conducts the annual Synar survey to determine the rate of illegal sales to minors. The Texas Synar Survey conducts approximately 1,000 random, unannounced inspections of local tobacco retailers in each of the 11 Health and Human Service Commission regions. Learn more or read the most recent Synar report »
DSHS Tobacco Prevention and Control provides the following services:
- Technical assistance to community organizations, schools, worksites, health professionals, and law enforcement agencies on tobacco use prevention issues
- A clearinghouse of information on tobacco use prevention issues
- Media campaign to educate Texans about the dangers of tobacco use and the Texas Tobacco Law
- Assistance in conducting the Texas Youth Tobacco Survey which provides current data on youth tobacco use rates and trends
- Toll-free number for those who wish to request tobacco information or to report illegal tobacco sales to youth: 1-800-345-8647
- In partnerships with the American Cancer Society “Quit For Life” program, provided by Free and Clear, multi-lingual, free, and confidential telephone cessation counseling for Texans needing support or information in quitting tobacco use:
- TTY: 1-866-228-4327
- Brochures and literature on various tobacco topics including cessation, secondhand smoke, spit tobacco, cigars, youth, worksite policy development, school resources, and multilingual resources
- Free loan of tobacco videos from the Texas Department of State Health Services Audiovisual Library. The DSHS audiovisual catalog includes numerous titles on all aspects of tobacco, including advertising and counter-marketing, health dangers and quitting. Click here to view available titles and ordering instructions in PDF format (150 kb, Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing - click here for viewing information)
- Information on tobacco prevention ordinances and laws
- Current research information and statistics
- Specialized web sites on tobacco prevention and education
- Specialized web site on tobacco cessation with resources for those who want to quit tobacco
DSHS Tobacco Prevention and Control serves many roles in Texas tobacco prevention activities: