History of Tobacco Free Allegheny
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania joined 45 other states in November 1998, in a lawsuit against the tobacco industry. The outcome of that lawsuit, known as the Master Settlement Agreement, provides the states with an estimated $206 billion over 25 years as compensation for the consequences of tobacco use. Pennsylvania’s share of the settlement is estimated to be close to $11 billion between the years 2000 and 2025. Each county in the Commonwealth receives a portion of the settlement funds to develop comprehensive programs to reduce tobacco use.
Tobacco Free Allegheny (TFA) was established on June 17, 2002, to administer and manage the comprehensive tobacco prevention and cessation program in Allegheny County. TFA is a non¬profit organization supported by the PA Department of Health and governed by a Board of Directors. The mission of TFA is to change the community norms surrounding tobacco use to make it uncommon to see, use or be negatively impacted by tobacco or tobacco smoke pollution (secondhand smoke).
TFA has been the primary contractor for tobacco prevention and control in Allegheny County since 2002. Most recently it was awarded a new contract with the state Department of Health (DOH) that extends to June 30, 2019.
TFA serves as a resource for the community providing prevention and cessation programming and helps raise community awareness about the importance of clean indoor air laws that prevent harmful and unnecessary exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Through a competitive RFP process, TFA provides funds in the form of cost reimbursement contracts to organizations and agencies that can help TFA advance the goals articulated by the DOH. Goals for the current contract are
• Preventing youth initiation into tobacco use.
• Eliminating exposure of non¬smokers to secondhand tobacco smoke.
• Promoting quitting among youth and adults
• Identifying and eliminating tobacco related health disparities.
As part of its role in preventing youth initiation into tobacco, TFA is responsible for conducting compliance checks on all retailers that sell tobacco products to ensure that they are in compliance with Act 112. Since 2000, the illegal sales rate in Allegheny County has dropped from 50% to just under 2% in 2007.