Tobacco Free Mass and its partners in the tobacco control movement have made substantial progress driving down tobacco use in Massachusetts. As the overall rate of tobacco use has decreased, the disparities between the state average and groups with high rates of tobacco use have become more pronounced. We commit to examining how these groups are affected by tobacco use and to report annually what we are doing to address these disparities.
People who are Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ+, have low incomes, and/or those who report having poor behavioral health are currently the most affected by tobacco. This situation is a crisis caused by a combination of tobacco industry targeting and the disproportionate burden of health problems caused by systemic and institutional racism and other structural inequities. To properly respond, we need engagement and leadership from these disproportionately affected groups. We commit to actively recruiting leadership from these groups to roles on our decision-making bodies.
The tobacco industry is well-funded, tenacious, and continues to be active in Massachusetts. It works to make its products appear harmless and acceptable through pervasive marketing, maintaining a strong presence in communities, manipulating small businesses, and influencing decision-makers. We commit to monitoring tobacco industry activity and countering its actions.
We use rigorous data to shape our policy focus and drive our decisions. Through discussion and deliberation, our members provide context for the numbers and determine appropriate action. Our understanding of complex issues is enhanced through a diversity of expertise and perspectives. We commit to thoughtful, inclusive conversations about data and decision-making.
We support the work of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. Its actions to promote cessation, prevent initiation, institute protections from secondhand smoke, promote a tobacco free social norm, and collect and share data is critical to the fight against tobacco in Massachusetts. We commit to advocating for adequate funding for the program.
The work we do is strong because we do it together. Our willingness to work together as a coalition, weathering disappointments and doubt, has meant that we have had moments of clarity, insight, excitement, and victory. We commit to a climate of collaboration, thoughtfulness, respect, and understanding as we seek to expand to bring in new members to move us forward.
--Tobacco Free Mass bylaws, revised 2020