In 2000, as a result of the Master Settlement, Maryland was awarded $1 billion in tobacco settlement funds. These funds were used to create a ten-year plan to fight cancer and other tobacco-related diseases (Senate Bill 896/House Bill 1425). This plan became known as the Cigarette Restitution Fund Program (CRFP) and it administers funds to three essential branches:
1. Cancer Prevention, Education, Screening and Treatment Program (CPEST). This program coordinates local public health efforts in cancer treatment, screening, clinical training, education and prevention. The program facilitates the collection and analysis of annual data on these activities, published in an annual report. It funds cancer research at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. The Maryland Statewide Health Network receives funding to do research on tobacco-related diseases and strives to speed the application of cancer findings into practice.
The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) and The University of Maryland (UMD) both receive funds to operate cancer screening programs. BCHD offers colorectal and oral cancer screenings to those that demonstrate need; UMD conducts screenings for breast and cervical cancer.
The law also called for the creation of a community coalition to help identify cancer priorities in the city. The Baltimore City Community Health Cancer Coalition, which is composed of local hospitals, federally qualified health care centers, and communities-based organizations, works closely with the health department to examine health literacy issues. The coalition conducts outreach in collaboration with the University of Maryland Medical School and BCHD program representatives. It also places an emphasis upon increasing the accessibility of health care services to the medically underserved and uninsured.
2. Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation Program. The Baltimore City Health Department’s Office of Tobacco Use Prevention and Cessation receives funding to
- Maintain a community tobacco coalition composed of local school systems, hospitals, federally qualified health care centers, faith-based and community-based organizations, tobacco control advocates, and citizens
- Provide education and smoking cessation services and raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and secondhand smoke. In accordance with CRFP requirements, the coalition develops an annual action plan that outlines the work of the program.
The state component operates a Quitline program (1-800-QUITNOW) that counsels callers on taking steps to quit. Also, the state analyzes and disseminates tobacco data through annual publications.
In keeping with the action plan, pharmacotherapies are purchased by the health department and provided to federally qualified health care centers to distribute to citizens (for free) during one-on-one counseling and group cessation sessions.
As part of the action plan, the SmokeFree Baltimore Tour Bus, a mobile classroom/museum visits schools, community and faith-based organizations, and health fairs to conduct presentations on tobacco use prevention. Staff workers are American Lung Association certified. Smokers who express desire to quit are counseled and referred to the Quitline or to a federally qualified health care center.
3. Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance (MOTA). State funding is provided for minority outreach and technical assistance. The goal of the MOTA program is to lower the disproportionately high cancer rates that exist among underserved minority groups (specifically Hispanic/Latino, African, Asian, and Native Americans) through targeted screenings, education, workshops, and other forms of outreach; as well as strengthening the links between minority groups and local health departments. The Baltimore City Health Department’s MOTA partner is Associated Black Charities of Maryland.