• Contact Us

    Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch
    DSHS Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Section
    1100 West 49th Street, Mail Code 1965
    Austin, TX 78756

    Phone: 512-776-7111
    Fax: (512) 776-7555

    Send an email

Tobacco Prevention and Control

Mission and Goals

The mission of DSHS Tobacco Prevention and Control is to reduce the health effects and economic toll tobacco has placed on the citizens of Texas. Major goals are:

  1. Prevent tobacco use among young people.
  2. Promote compliance and support adequate enforcement of federal, state and local tobacco laws.
  3. Increase cessation among young people and adults.
  4. Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke.
  5. Reduce tobacco use among populations with the highest burden of tobacco-related health disparities.
  6. Develop and maintain statewide capacity for comprehensive tobacco prevention and control.

Current Reports

National Report

2014 Surgeon General’s Report: The Health Consequences of Smoking: 50 Years of Progress

The 2014 Surgeon General's Report looks back at the important gains made in reducing tobacco use over the last half-century as well as looking forward at the work that still needs to be done to achieve the goal of a society free from tobacco-related disease and death.

The report shows that 5.6 million of today's children will ultimately die early from smoking if smoking rates are not reduced. It also shows that 2.5 million nonsmokers have died from secondhand smoke since 1964.

Progress has been made, but the public health battle continues against this persistent epidemic.

Past Surgeon General's Reports

The 2010 Surgeon General's report, " How Tobacco Smoke Causes Disease: The Biology and Behavioral Basis for Smoking- Attributable Disease” (PDF) focuses on the changes that tobacco smoke causes to the body — not just of smokers, but also those who breathe secondhand smoke. 

Any exposure to tobacco smoke – even just occasional smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke can cause immediate damage and poses serious risk of illness or death. That is the major conclusion of a report released by the U.S. Surgeon General.

"There is no safe level of exposure to cigarette smoke," Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD said. "The chemicals in tobacco smoke reach your lungs quickly every time you inhale, causing damage immediately. Inhaling even the smallest amount of tobacco smoke can also damage your DNA, which can lead to cancer."

woman snuffing cigarette

Want to Quit?

Contact the American Cancer Society Quitline for free and confidential counseling services, support and information:

  • 1-877-937-7848
  • TTY: 1-866-228-4327
  • You can also visit www.yesquit.org or click "Want to Quit?" on the left side of your screen for more information

    Texas Reports

    Most recent information on tobacco use, cessation, and prevention in Texas

    Annual Synar Report

    In July 1992, Congress enacted a law that included an amendment (Sec. 1926) aimed at decreasing access to tobacco products among individuals under age 18. The goal of the amendment was to reduce the number of successful illegal purchases by minors to no more that 20 percent of attempts in each State. In 1997, the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 55 (currently Sec. 161.088 of the Health and Safety Code). The Texas law gives full responsibility for enforcement of the law to the Comptroller of Public Accounts. DSHS, Substance Abuse Services, conducts the annual Synar survey to determine the rate of illegal sales to minors. The Texas Synar Survey conducts approximately 1,000 random, unannounced inspections of local tobacco retailers in each of the 11 Health and Human Service Commission regions. Learn more or read the most recent Synar report »


    DSHS Tobacco Prevention and Control provides the following services:

    • Technical assistance to community organizations, schools, worksites, health professionals, and law enforcement agencies on tobacco use prevention issues
    • A clearinghouse of information on tobacco use prevention issues
    • Media campaign to educate Texans about the dangers of tobacco use and the Texas Tobacco Law
    • Assistance in conducting the Texas Youth Tobacco Survey which provides current data on youth tobacco use rates and trends
    • Toll-free number for those who wish to request tobacco information or to report illegal tobacco sales to youth: 1-800-345-8647
    • In partnerships with the American Cancer Society “Quit For Life” program, provided by Free and Clear, multi-lingual, free, and confidential telephone cessation counseling for Texans needing support or information in quitting tobacco use:
      • 1-877-937-7848
      • TTY: 1-866-228-4327
    • Brochures and literature on various tobacco topics including cessation, secondhand smoke, spit tobacco, cigars, youth, worksite policy development, school resources, and multilingual resources
    • Free loan of tobacco videos from the Texas Department of State Health Services Audiovisual Library. The DSHS audiovisual catalog includes numerous titles on all aspects of tobacco, including advertising and counter-marketing, health dangers and quitting. Click here to view available titles and ordering instructions in PDF format (150 kb, Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader for viewing - click here for viewing information)
    • Information on tobacco prevention ordinanceslaws and
    • Current research information and statistics
    • Specialized web sites on tobacco prevention and education
    • Specialized web site on tobacco cessation with resources for those who want to quit tobacco


    DSHS Tobacco Prevention and Control serves many roles in Texas tobacco prevention activities:

    Last updated November 18, 2016