The Tobacco Control program of the Central MA Regional Public Health Alliance is part of the Worcester Regional Tobacco Control Collaborative (WRTCC), a collaborative of nineteen Boards of Health in Central Massachusetts, hosted by the Worcester Division of Public Health.

The mission of the WRTCC is to promote social change through four main goals: prevent initiation of tobacco use among youth; eliminate exposure to environmental tobacco smoke; promote smoking cessation among young people and adults; and identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities in special population groups.

The City of Worcester’s Division of Public Health Tobacco Control Program is responsible for conducting youth access to tobacco compliance checks and point-of-purchase audits of all tobacco retail facilities in Worcester and the cities and towns in the collaborative. Massachusetts Law prohibits the sale of any tobacco products to those under the age of 18 years as discussed in M.G.L. Chapter 270, Section 6. Additionally, Massachusetts Attorney General’s regulations require retailers to ask for photo identification from anyone attempting to purchase tobacco who appears to be under 27 years of age. The Federal Synar Amendment requires all states to conduct random, unannounced compliance checks with local retailers where underage youth may attempt to purchase tobacco. There is a direct correlation between the rates of youth access and the funding of programs that educate retailers and enforce the law.

The WRTCC also enforces the Massachusetts Smokefree Workplace Law which took effect and became available on July 1, 2004. The law prohibits smoking in workplaces in order to protect employees and the public from secondhand smoke. This law amends the 1988 Massachusetts Clean Indoor Air Law and prohibits smoking in workplaces including private offices, taxis, restaurants and bars, with only a few exceptions.

The collaborative (Towns of Auburn, Boylston, Charlton, Dudley, Grafton, Holden, Leicester, Millbury, Northborough, Oxford, Shrewsbury, Spencer, Sturbridge, Sutton, West Boylston, Webster, and Westborough, and Cities of Southbridge and Worcester) maintains the integrity and autonomy of its Board of Health members while Worcester provides assistance and guidance in all tobacco related issues.

To learn more about efforts to reduce smoking click HERE. To see how you can make a plan to quit, watch this short video.