Who We Are and What We Do
The Northwest Pennsylvania (NWPA) Tobacco Control Program is part of the health education division at the Erie County Department of Health (ECDH). This program is funded through a contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Health using Master Settlement Agreement dollars, also known as tobacco settlement funds. Staff in the Tobacco Control Program work to achieve the following program goals in the 13 counties of the NWPA Health District:
- Prevent initiation of tobacco use among young people.
- Promote quitting among young people and adults.
- Reduce non-smokers’ exposure to tobacco smoke pollution.
- Identify and eliminate disparities related to tobacco use.
Goals are accomplished by following Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, ECDH works with several organizations and community partners to provide tobacco education/prevention, cessation, and enforcement services to the community.
View the most recent Strategic Plan for PA Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, published by the American Lung Association.
How We Are Funded
In November of 1998, Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher and several other state attorney generals reached an agreement regarding a lawsuit against the five major tobacco companies. The Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) with Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Brown and Williamson, and Lolliard and Liggett Group settled the states’ lawsuits for recovery of tobacco related Medicaid costs.
Settlement dollars are to be paid by the tobacco companies to the states over a period of 25 years. In addition, provisions exist to restrict tobacco advertising. On June 6, 2001, Governor Tom Ridge signed into law Act 77, which stipulated how the MSA funds would be distributed in the state of Pennsylvania. Chapter 7 of Act 77 requires the creation of a “comprehensive tobacco use prevention and cessation program” in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.
Have a question about tobacco? Send an email or call 814-451-6700.