About Us

California’s Tobacco Control Program


Since 1989, the California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP), a program of the California Department of Public Health, has led the fight to keep tobacco out of the hands of youth, help  tobacco users quit, and ensure that all Californians can live, work, play, and learn in tobacco-free environments.

California voters passed two important tax acts that helped shape the future of tobacco control in California.

  • November 1988, Tobacco Tax and Health Protection Act (Proposition 99): added a 25-cent tax to each pack of cigarettes.
  • November 2016, California Healthcare, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act (Proposition 56): increased state tobacco tax by $2 per pack, and an equivalent amount on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products. 

A portion of these initiatives provide funding for California Tobacco Control Program, the longest-running, most comprehensive tobacco control program in the nation.


Our mission is to improve the health of all Californians by reducing illness and premature death from the use of tobacco products. Working with local partners through the state, we strive to create smoke-free environments, counter the aggressive marketing tactics of the tobacco industry, prevent illegal sales to young people, and help people quit as part of a larger strategy to change social norms about tobacco use and save lives. Examples of these efforts include:

  • Launching bold advertising and educational campaigns to counter e-cigarettes, which are highly addictive and popular among youth and young adults.
  • Creating smoke-free outdoor dining experiences on restaurant patios.
  • Keeping local beaches, parks, and recreation areas free of cigarette smoke and toxic, non-biodegradable cigarette butts.
  • Protecting people living in multi-unit housing from second- and third-hand smoke.
  • Defending youth, LGBT, low-income and people of color from predatory tobacco marketing.
  • Helping people quit their addiction to tobacco.

Since the program began in 1989, California has led the way in forever changing how the public sees tobacco use and tobacco industry marketing.
Positive results are evident throughout California:

  • 90 percent of adult Californians do not smoke cigarettes.1
  • Youth smoking rates are one of the lowest in the nation. 2
  • Lung cancer incidence rates are nearly a third lower in California as compared to the rest of the country, and the gap is widening each year by almost a percentage point.3

While there have been many successes, tobacco use continues to take a toll on California families:

  • Tobacco use continues to be the single most preventable cause of illness, disability, and premature death.4
  • Approximately four million adults in California still use a tobacco product, exceeding the population in 23 states.5,6
  • With candy flavors and unrestricted advertising, e-cigarettes are now the most common tobacco product used by teens.6 E-cigarettes typically contain nicotine, which causes addiction, can harm brain development, and may be a gateway to other addictions.7
  • Millions of Californians remain at risk for exposure to secondhand smoke from cigarettes, e-cigarette (aerosol) and vaping devices, and marijuana.6
  • Tobacco companies spend nearly $1 million per hour to market their addictive, deadly products.8

Join us in the fight against tobacco and learn how you can get involved.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.