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About T-Free: Tobacco Free Tompkins



Tobacco Free Tompkins (T-Free), a program of the Tompkins County Health Department, is a Community Partnership funded by the New York Tobacco Control Program.

T-Free engages in community education and advocacy dedicated to keep the air smoke-free, support smokers who want to quit, and help teens beat the tobacco trap, because we cannot afford another generation of tobacco addiction.

Contact T-Free
Ted Schiele, Program Coordinator

Tompkins County Health Department


Active Local T-Free Partners

  • Alcohol and Drug Council of Tompkins County
  • American Cancer Society
  • Cayuga Medical Center
  • Community Coalition for Healthy Youth
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension, Reality Check
  • Cornell: Gannett Health Center
  • Cornell Wellness Program
  • Finger Lakes Independence Center
  • Health Planning Council
  • Ithaca College Health Promotion
  • Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network
  • NYS Department of Health
  • Team ACT/ UHS
  • Tompkins County Health Department
  • Tompkins County Youth Services

New York State Tobacco Control Program (NY TCP)

The New York Tobacco Control Program views tobacco use as a social and cultural problem with an individual addictive component


  • All New Yorkers living in a tobacco-free society


  • To reduce morbidity and mortality and alleviate the social and economic burden caused by tobacco use in New York State


  • To reduce the prevalence of adult cigarette use to 14% and youth cigarette use to 10% by 2010

The NY TCP seeks to promote cessation of tobacco use, reduce the social acceptability of tobacco use, prevent initiation of tobacco use, address disproportionately high rates of tobacco use by specific population groups, and eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke. The NY TCP uses a multi-pronged strategic approach to reduce tobacco use in the population and seeks to impact the population as a whole.

Additional information about the NYTCP »Click Here

About Funded Partners


4th Annual Independent Evaluation of the NYTCP, August 2007


ES.1 Overview

The 2007 Independent Evaluation Report (IER) is RTI International’s (RTI’s) fourth annual assessment of the New York Tobacco Control Program (NYTCP). In previous reports, we praised NYTCP for developing and implementing a Strategic Plan that is grounded in evidence-based interventions, strengthening its selection of tobacco countermarketing advertisements, expanding the New York State Smokers’ Quitline services, and enhancing the skills and capacity of funded Community Partners with training and technical assistance. We also noted in previous reports that the program’s efforts have been impeded by bureaucratic and political delays. Another significant impediment to reducing tobacco use in New York is the significant cigarette tax evasion that effectively reduces the price that smokers pay for cigarettes. As a result of lower effective cigarette prices, smoking rates and cigarette consumption are higher than they would be if tax evasion was eliminated.

In the 2006 IER, we made the following recommendations:

  • Avoid unplanned gaps in media implementation to maximize coordination between the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and Community Partners and the Quitline.
  • Dedicate a sufficient amount of the newly available program resources to achieve 60% awareness of media messages among New Yorkers.
  • Maximize the efficiency of mass media efforts to promote the Quitline by increasing the use of cost-effective media (e.g., print and radio).
  • More actively promote smoke-free homes and cars through the use of mass media that includes a call to action to limit smoking in homes and cars.
  • Focus advocacy efforts to reduce cigarette advertising and promotions on large grocery stores and pharmacies that rely less on cigarette sales as a major source of revenue.
  • Avoid gaps in Community Partner activities associated with annual contract renewals.

ES.2 Summary of Progress Since 2006 IER

As a result of past efforts to expand the program’s capacity and effectiveness, NYTCP was positioned to take full advantage of the budget increase beginning April 1, 2006, by expanding existing initiatives. The program increased allocations for tobacco countermarketing efforts, community interventions (i.e., School Policy Partners, Cessation Centers, Community Partnerships), the New York Smokers’ Quitline, and Promising Interventions grants, among other initiatives.

Once the program’s media plan was fully implemented in early 2007, NYTCP was able to exceed the previous recommendation to reach at least 60% of its target audience with evidence-based advertisements. In addition to high levels of awareness, New Yorkers had positive reactions to these advertisements in early 2007. Unfortunately, bureaucratic and political delays once again prevented NYTCP from implementing its media plan sooner and reaching its full potential in 2006. Despite the availability of additional resources for paid media, awareness of tobacco countermarketing messages among New Yorkers plateaued in 2006 after steady annual increases from 2003 to 2005. With respect to other recommendations from the 2006 IER, NYTCP made good progress. The program more actively promoted the New York State Smokers’ Quitline with cost-effective Internet advertisements that contributed to record levels of Quitline service and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) distribution in the past year. In addition, although the program did not include a call to action in advertisements focused on secondhand smoke exposure, the advertisements generally elicited positive feedback. Consistent with our recommendation, there appeared to be no significant gaps in Community Partner activities associated with contract renewals. Finally, the program conducted research to identify promising strategies to reduce point-of-purchase cigarette advertising.

ES.3 2007 IER Conclusions and Recommendations


Tobacco Use. It appears that NYTCP’s recent and past efforts are beginning to have an impact on tobacco use. In 2006, the prevalence of youth and adult smoking declined faster in New York than in the United States as a whole. In addition, the use of other tobacco products by youth and adults also declined. However, tobacco use did not decline at the same rate among all adult populations in New York (e.g., Medicaid recipients, adults with self-reported mental health problems). NYTCP will need to address these gaps moving forward.

Tobacco Countermarketing. NYTCP continues to make progress with countermarketing efforts by using high quality, high sensation value messages. Unfortunately, NYTCP’s progress has been slowed once again by unnecessary bureaucratic and political delays despite the program’s efforts to plan in a timely manner.

New York State Smokers’ Quitline. The Quitline continues to provide high quality service, and, with the additional NRT, smokers who call the Quitline are more likely to successfully quit compared with previous years when NRT was not available. In addition, the Quitline received a record number of calls in the past year. There are, however, periods when the demand for the Quitline exceeds its capacity, and the program must better coordinate paid media with Quitline capacity. Although the Quitline is a helpful resource for smokers, health care providers, and others in New York, it currently reaches approximately 3% of the smokers in New York. We recommend exploring ways to increase this reach to approximately 5%.

Community Mobilization. Turning to the Cessation Center initiative, recent data suggest that after the first 2 years of the intervention, the Cessation Centers are beginning to have an impact on short- and intermediate-term outcomes. Health care provider organization administrators are more aware of the Cessation Centers and of other cessation resources in the state. In addition, an increasing percentage of health care provider organizations have adopted formal guidelines for addressing smoking cessation. Although we did not observe progress in the ultimate objective—to increase systems that screen all patients for tobacco use and prompt providers to provide brief advice to quit—the Cessation Centers appear to be making good progress. With respect to other community-based interventions, it is difficult to evaluate their progress because their interventions are more diffuse. In addition, the goal of these initiatives is to change community norms about tobacco use by changing policies in a number of settings in order to curb the influence of tobacco advertising, sponsorship, and promotion. This is a challenging task, and the Community Partners are struggling to develop the necessary skills and strategies to effect change. It is likely that these initiatives will take years to have an impact.


In summary, we make the following recommendations:

  • Avoid bureaucratic and political delays that hampered implementation of media campaigns in 2006.
  • Better coordinate media campaigns and Quitline activities to ensure that the two are in sync and the highest quality of service is offered by the Quitline.
  • Strengthen strategies and skills used by funded Community Partners to create policy and environmental change in New York communities.
  • Support community initiatives with paid media campaigns by withdrawing funding from the Healthy Neighborhood and School Health Center programs to fund media campaigns that support funded partner efforts in their communities.

To achieve the NYTCP 2010 objective of 1 million fewer smokers, we recommend the following:

  • Maintain funding at $85.485 million at a minimum and make full use of all program dollars for effective tobacco control interventions, specifically shifting funding from the Healthy Neighborhood and School Health Center programs in order to fund media campaigns.
  • Raise the price of cigarettes by increasing the cigarette excise tax and reducing tax evasion through Indian reservation sales to non-Indians.
  • Invest sufficiently in media and countermarketing to achieve a 60% reach of campaign messages and generate 230,000 calls per year to the Quitline.
  • Support community policy and environmental change efforts with coordinated media messages.


  • Download entire document from NYSDOH web site (2.4MB) »Click Here