Taking Texas Tobacco Free

Lorraine Reitzel discussed an innovative prevention program and its efforts on reducing tobacco use in Texas.

September 22, 2023/

Eno Oduok

 An illustration of smoke filled lungs.

The HPE Data Science Institute invited Lorraine Reitzel, Ph.D., co-founder of the UH HEALTH Institute and professor in the Department of Psychological, Health, & Learning Sciences, to deliver a presentation regarding the Taking Texas Tobacco Free (TTTF) project and its mission of creating initiatives to reduce tobacco use and the risk of tobacco-related cancers among people in Texas. This is an academic-community partnership between UH and healthcare-focused organizations, including Integral Care of Austin/Travis County.

Reitzel emphasized the health issues caused by smoking and tobacco usage. There are various types of cancer caused by smoking. This includes that smoking is causally attributable to 90 percent of lung cancers, which is amongst the top three cancers diagnosed annually in men and women in the U.S.

Reitzel displayed a video about TTTF, described a breakdown of the program and introduced the perspectives of program participants. TTTF uses qualitative and quantitative research methods to determine how to approach the intervention stage with participants.

TTTF is working on a project focused on addressing tobacco control in behavioral health settings through sustainable, organization-led educational programming. This project will be incorporated in multiple workplaces through new employee, annual and in-service training events. So far, a few organizations are participating, including West Texas Centers and Border Regions Behavioral Health Centers.

TTTF has plans to work with the department of state health services to analyze evidence-based tobacco control workplace policies and practices across Texas in order to recommend improvements in policies and practice. TTTF programs continue to expand, reaching upwards of 500,000 people across Texas through community outreach.

“What we have proposed to do is to implement and disseminate our intervention within substance-used centers and federally-qualified health centers in rural and medically underserved areas,” Reitzel said. This application is under consideration for funding that would expand the program as indicated.

TTTF has been funded by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas through four grants since 2013.

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