Call for Members – TCN Emerging Issues Workgroup

TCN has formed an Emerging Issues Workgroup that will meet monthly to discuss how state and territorial tobacco control stakeholders can best collaborate to address emerging challenges in tobacco control. Topics of discussion will include emerging products, industry tactics, and threats to clean air policy. Emerging Issues Workgroup meetings are held on the third Thursday of each month from 4 to 5 PM ET. TCN members interested in taking part can reach out to

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Program Manager Feature -- Donny Asbury (NH)

To celebrate state and territorial tobacco program managers as dynamic leaders in tobacco control, the TCN homepage is highlighting tobacco program managers in a series of rotating features. This will give the TCN membership and national tobacco partners an opportunity to learn more about the work of program managers. If you would like to nominate a program manager to be featured, please reach out to

What led you to pursue a career in tobacco control?

Prior to joining the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS), I pursued a degree in Exercise Science, followed by a Master’s in Public Health. I was working at a local hospital in a unit known as Working Well. We held several contracts with Fortune 500 companies, school systems, and the New Hampshire Fighters Association. During that time our team traveled the State of New Hampshire to conduct Health Risk Appraisals that included fasting cholesterol and blood glucose testing, H2W Ratios, etc. For the fire fighters, screenings included Fit for Duty sub-max fitness testing that met the criteria outlined in the International Fire Fighters Association at the time. I grew tired of providing individualized training and education. Although I came in contact with many individuals over the years, it just wasn’t enough for me.

How long have you been a Program Manager? How long have you worked at your state health department?

I was hired into the Program Manager position in 2002 and advanced to an Administrator Position. Altogether I have been working in Tobacco Prevention and Cessation for 15 years! During this 15 year period I lost my mother and mother-in-law to smoking related lung cancer.

What are you most proud of your state accomplishing in tobacco control?

I am fortunate to work with a dynamic team of colleagues. Together we have approximately 35 years of tobacco control experience. As for projects, there are four that come to mind:

1) Because of the generosity of the State of Washington Program, New Hampshire was granted permission to use the script from the Washington “Dear Me Campaign” (cessation ad). Our Health Communications team member at the time worked with a vendor to develop and shoot a 15-second and 30-second ad referred to as the Dear Me Campaign for New Hampshire. In 2015, the Dear Me Campaign was awarded a Bronze Medal by the National Public Health Information Coalition.

2) We are very excited to have received general funds (state funding) to assist with offering over the counter, combination, nicotine replacement therapy to all callers, and those referred, who enroll in counseling.

3) Our State and Community lead staff has been quietly working in the background with Public Housing Authorities in New Hampshire. For approximately four years we have maintained 14 of 16 Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) as smokefree, vape free and marijuana free. The last two PHAs continue to allow smoking but we are hopeful that the HUD ruling will stand and that we will be able to provide assistance to the property managers. There are also a number of other types of publicly assisted housing that have adopted in-home no-smoking policies.

4) We have been in the fax referral, e-referral/bi-directional business for many years and will continue to provide academic detailing and training support for Community Health Centers and Hospitals/Health Systems prioritizing the work outlined in the US Public Health Clinical Practice Guidelines to Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence.

How have you leveraged the tools and the resources of the Tobacco Control Network in your state or territory?

The 2016 printed Policy Recommendations were distributed to TPCP staff, the Bureau Chief, Deputy Director, Legislative Liaison, and the incoming Director of the Division of Public Health Services/DHHS. They were also shared with the New Hampshire Tobacco Free Network, a group of advocates that use these types of documents to inform and educate legislators as a whole.

What do you find most challenging when working within tobacco control?

Tobacco use/addiction/dependence is under the proverbial iceberg. The top of the iceberg is where the diseases are. Some may be obvious, as one can readily see the damage done by cardiovascular disease, diabetes, COPD, cancers, and congestive heart failure. Tobacco use and dependence, including the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems, remains the proverbial elephant in the room. Some still view smoking as a personal right and some are uncomfortable with treating tobacco use, while others may have given up all together.

What do you like to do outside of work?

My husband Brad and I consider ourselves Adventure Travelers – in other words we often take two, 2-week vacations and really explore the area that we are visiting. We have hiked the 48 – 4,000-footers in New Hampshire – some of them thrice. We are on our 4th golden retriever who has his own cat.

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TCN's 2016 Policy Recommendations Now Available!

The Executive Leadership Committee of the Tobacco Control Network (TCN) is pleased to release the 2016 TCN Policy Recommendations document. The policy recommendations reflect our network’s priorities and declare a vision and direction for those policy and system changes which the TCN membership believe are most important to reducing and eliminating the health issues caused by tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

Building on the previous policy document, the 2016 TCN Policy Recommendations aim to prepare the TCN membership to meet the evolving demands of the tobacco control landscape. It is our hope that the 2016 TCN Policy Recommendations will be used to help shape effective tobacco control programs. State and territorial tobacco control programs found the 2012 version helpful in providing program direction, completing readiness assessments, developing their five-year National State-Based Tobacco Control workplans, and educating their state’s leadership about evidence-based tobacco control work.

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Preventing and reducing harms related to tobacco use through idea sharing across U.S. state and territorial health agencies.

The mission of the Tobacco Control Network (TCN) is to improve the public’s health by providing education and state-based expertise to tobacco prevention and control at the state and national levels. Through the network’s wide representation and information exchange resources, our members have access to a wealth of expertise and experience from across the country. Browse our website to learn how the network serves as a catalyst for building relationships and collaboration, and to access resources to support effective tobacco control strategies in your area.

This website is a space for TCN members and partners to connect, collaborate, and learn from each other. State and territory tobacco control program staff and others who support state and territory tobacco control efforts are invited to take advantage of the many services the TCN offers.

Get Involved!

TCN's members-only forum will enable state and territorial tobacco health department staff and Funders' Alliance staff (state-level members) to ask questions and share best practices. The forum is open to state and territorial tobacco program managers, cessation managers, media coordinators, and evaluators, or assigned delegates.

TCN's 2016 Policy Recommendations contain specific priorities and guidance for effective tobacco control by state and territorial health agencies.