Tobacco Free Rhode Island

Upcoming Events


March 16, 2016




Above photos courtesy of The Providence Journal








Friday Oct. 30, 2015
Warwick Public Library
Warwick, RI 02889

Meeting Starts Promptly at 9:15am

Kick Butts Day is March 18, 2015 and the Zombies are Coming Back!








Over 100 guests at the March 5 Smoke Free 10 event
listen to an address from Elizabeth Roberts,
Health & Human Services Secretary.

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Rhode Island's
Smoke Free Workplaces Act!

Celebrate A Milestone.
   Honor Our Advocates.
      Usher in the Next 10 Years of Tobacco Free Success!

March 5, 2015
Johnson & Wales University Harbor View Building
1150 Narragansett Boulevard
Cranston, RI 02905

Thank you to all who came out to our March 5th SMOKE FREE 10 Celebration event! Over 100 people gathered to celebrate the 10th anniversary of RI's smoke free workplaces and public places law that has protected Rhode Islanders from deadly secondhand smoke exposure for 10 years now and counting. We honored the leaders of the smoke free movement and recognized many smoke free heroes who played a key role in achieving this landmark public health policy.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse sent this video greeting to the SMOKE FREE 10 Celebration event on March 5th, 2015:

​Here's a wonderful slide show of images and quotes and facts about the campaign that led to the successful passage and enactment of Rhode Island's 2004 smoke free workplaces and public places law​ that we played during the SMOKE FREE 10 Celebration event on March 5th, 2015:



TFRI Annual Fall Meeting — Friday, October 31, 2014
To set policy priorities for 2015
9:00 – 11:30 am
The Providence Center
528 North Main St.
Providence, RI 02904

Free healthy breakfast, free parking, and guest speaker!

RSVP to Karina: 401-533-5179 or

What do you REALLY know? Get the TRUTH!
Chariho High School Cafeteria
459 Switch Road
Wood River Junction, RI 02894

To mark Kick Butts Day, March 19, 2014, Tobacco Free Rhode Island joined forces with the Rhode Island Department of Health's Tobacco Control Program, Tobacco Free Providence and dozens of high school youth to motivate Rhode Islanders to quit smoking — Zombie Style!

Inspired by the British National Health Service's new anti-smoking campaign, youth dressed as zombies led a press conference at the Rhode Island State House at 2:30 pm, then departed on a "Zombie Walk" to Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence.

The teens were provided with make-up application and costumes that transformed them into a walking example of the effects of tobacco related disease. Zombies presented smokers and other members of the public with cessation resource guides and a powerful reminder of the dangers of tobacco.

We made the TV news!

We're in The Providence Journal

We're in The Woonsocket Call

Watch our promo video and share with teens via email and social media!

Tobacco Free RI partners Caroline Bernal of Progreso Latino, Central Falls, and Douglas Anthony of Students Against Destructive Decisions, St. Andrews High School, Barrington, testified at the House Finance Committee on March 18, 2014 in support of increased funding for the RI Health Dept's tobacco control program. Pictured here with their representatives, Rep. Silva of Central Falls and Rep. Hearn of Barrington.

Watch their testimony, along with that of other Tobacco Free RI partners and director, Karina Holyoak Wood.
CLICK HERE for the RI General Assembly Capitol TV home page, then select the 3.18.14 House Finance Committee video recording.

YOU ARE INVITED to a happy hour party to support the Tobacco Free Rhode Island team competing in the American Lung Association of the Northeast's annual Fight for Air Climb: Climb Providence!

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014
    5:30 - 7:00 PM
    The Avery
    18 Luongo Memorial Square
    Providence RI 02903

Come on out for some after-work fun and support our stair climb team as we prepare to run up the 44 flights of stairs at the Omni Hotel on Saturday, February 22 to raise money to fight lung cancer and lung disease and for a healthy, tobacco-free RI! Funds raised will go to the American Lung Association and Tobacco Free RI.

Can't come, but want to support?
You can donate online here:

Any questions, call Karina at 401-533-5179



Local movers and shakers (like you) are invited to the first ever ...
Tobacco Free Rhode Island Local Leadership Summit
Please join us for a lively half-day summit to learn how cities and towns are taking on tobacco – and winning!

Date:  Friday, November 15, 2013
Time:  9:30 AM – noon
Location:  Warwick Public Library - 600 Sandy Lane, Warwick, RI

Are you:

  • Outraged at the new candy-flavored tobacco products that are popping up all over Rhode Island?
  • Frustrated at how hard it is to enforce the tobacco laws we already have?
  • .Wishing that you could enjoy your local beach, park, playground, or athletic fields without having to breathe someone else's tobacco smoke or deal with the litter?
  • Angry that many stores are selling tobacco products to kids – in VIOLATION of state law – but not being held accountable?
  • Motivated by the vision of preventing any more Rhode Island families from losing a loved one to a tobacco-caused illness?

If so, you're not alone and this summit is for you!!!

Nationwide, local activists have been working to reduce tobacco and nicotine-causes addition, disease and earth by changing things within their own communities to protect people – especially youth - from these deadly products. Some of their notable success include smoke-free housing, retail permit fees with enforcement mechanisms, ending the sale of tobacco products in pharmacies and other health care facilities, and restricting smoking at outdoor venues like playgrounds, parks, and beaches.

And while Rhode Island might be the smallest state in the country, it is credited with one of the biggest victories in local tobacco control policy change with recent court decisions that upheld the City of Providence's law that prohibits tobacco companies from selling flavored products and offering price discounts. Join with folks from across the Ocean State to learn more and to share your own experiences, concerns, and unique approaches to this issue. You will hear from a national legal expert on local tobacco control policy, many local officials and advocates who have been fighting the good fight and you'll have time to brainstorm with others about taking more local action against tobacco.

Click here to RSVP – Space is limited!!

The event is free, but space is limited, so please RSVP now.
Please spread the word!!!!

Tobacco Free Rhode Island (formerly RITCN)
Annual Policy-Setting Meeting
Friday, September 27, 2013
9:00 am - 11:30 am
American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
931 Jefferson Blvd., Suite 3004
Warwick, Rhode Island 02886-2233

RSVP or inquiries to Karina Wood or 401-533-5179

Celebrating World No Tobacco Day

Sunday, June 2, 2013
11:00am – 4:00pm
Woonsocket Parks Pride & Wellness
River Island Park
Woonsocket, RI
The Woonsocket Prevention Coalition will be joining the Recreation Department's Parks Pride & Wellness Day to share information about the ways tobacco impacts the people of Woonsocket and to learn more about how people want to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke throughout the city. The event will feature music, food, a bounce house, demos and performances, balloons, raffles, jump roping, hula hooping and sack races. Bwana Iguana will also be there.

Friday, May 31, 2013
3:00pm – 6:00pm
Pawtucket Poetry Slam
Blackstone Valley Visitors Center

Friday, May 31, 2013
Chariho Region – Students from Charlestown, Richmond, and Hopkinton took to the streets to play a highly revealing game of "I Spy... Another Tobacco Sign." This photography project deployed local youth to capture the awful truth about the ways tobacco companies have taken over so much of the visual space in retail stores. Most adults are clueless until confronted by photos like these of their neighborhood stores. Of course they're clueless!! This marketing is not aimed at them – it's aimed at kids. Tobacco is everywhere in Rhode Island and to look at these photos, you'd think tobacco was as harmless as chewing gum, coffee, or candy — just what Big Tobacco wants. Chariho youth are not giving up the fight. They plan to investigate, document, and expose the glut of tobacco industry influence in our retail stores. If you want to join this game of "I Spy," please do three things: 1) Take photos of tobacco advertising, promotions and placement inside and outside of retail stores; (2) count how many of these items you can see; and (3) email your ad count, photos and the name of the store and its address to:

Thursday, May 30, 2013
House Resolution Passes
RI State House - House Chamber
Providence, RI
State Representative Art Handy (D-Cranston) offered a Resolution officially making May 31st World No Tobacco Day in Rhode Island. The resolution was passed in the RI House of Representatives on Thursday, May 30, 2013.

Thursday, May 30, 2013
"Buds, Not Butts"
4th graders at the Henry Barnard School at Rhode Island College celebrated World No Tobacco Day 2013 with a green theme. "Buds not Butts" emphasized replacing cigarette litter with plants and flowers. The interactive lesson plan opened the eyes of the HBS community to the prevalence of tobacco product trash in our environment and the harm it brings. Check out the student presentation on You Tube!

We need YOU to talk to legislators about Rep Handy's and Senator Pichardo's bills to reduce the RI youth smoking rate by raising the RI cigarette tax 90-cents. Details on the legislation here.

Pick the day that works best for you! We just need an hour of your time!

  • Tuesday, MAY 28, 3:15 - 4:30 PM
  • Wednesday, MAY 29, 3:15 - 4:30 PM
  • Thursday, MAY 30, 3:15 - 4:30 PM

We'll meet in front of the doors to the House Chambers, second floor, Rhode Island State House, Smith Street, Providence, RI 02903.

We'll have talking points and stickers for you!

See you at the State House!

Monday, April 8, 2013
The Chariho Better Health Forum 2013
Dirty Little Secrets: The Truth of How The Tobacco Industry Targets Chariho's Kids
Sponsored by The Chariho Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention and Host Committee
Chariho Career and Technical Center, Room 107
459 Switch Road
Wood River Junction, RI 02894



October 26, 2012
Annual Fall Meeting
We had a great Annual Policy Setting Meeting at which Network representatives set TFRI's policy priorities for 2013.
Read Minutes

The 2012 legislative session marked an exciting year of TFRI's fight against Big Tobacco.
YOU were a key part in this. Celebrate our successes with us!

We did it!

  • TFRI 2012 priority: Tackled price inequities in Little Cigars to protect youth: As you know, so-called Little Cigars are just cigarettes manipulated to weigh more by the tobacco industry to evade the cigarette excise tax and make these products more appealing to youth. These often flavored packs of tobacco and nicotine products have cost on average just $2.00 a pack vs. the $8-10 per pack of cigarettes. This year, TFRI proposed adjusting the weight to capture Little Cigars. The Governor and General Assembly agreed! Now Little Cigars weighing up to 4.0 lbs per 1000 will be taxed appropriately!
  • Stopped a Tobacco Industry Tactic to Divert Program Funds and Resources: A bill making cessation programs mandatory for any youth caught with tobacco moved quickly at the end of session and passed. While on the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, there is no evidence that mandatory programs work. In fact, there is evidence that voluntary participation works. This bill was proposed by the tobacco industry and is a known tactic to divert program funds from proven programs. Upon hearing the bill passed, TFRI urged the Governor to veto it. And he did!
  • Blocked Preemption: The tobacco industry lobbied hard to strip cities and towns from their ability to enact and enforce their own local tobacco control ordinances in a bill introduced at the State House. TFRI coordinated response from city and town leaders, including the Mayors of Warwick, Cranston, Pawtucket and Providence. We put pressure on state leaders to resist implementing limitations that would undermine local efforts that are the most effective protections for our youth and our citizens. The bill died in committee!
  • Blocked a Tobacco Tax Rollback Proposal: Once again, a proposal was put forth at the State House to rollback the tobacco tax by 10-cents. And once again, TFRI prevailed in our fight against the measure!
  • TFRI 2012 priority: Improved Tobacco Enforcement System: A key TFRI initiative this year was to improve the tobacco enforcement system to reduce tax evasion and black market sales. After meetings hosted by TFRI last year, the Governor came out with a budget proposal that included the addition of four more tobacco enforcement agents. The Assembly agreed and kept these positions in the final 2013 budget!


  • TFRI 2012 priority: TFRI had sought a 90-cent increase in the tobacco tax this year, as well as increase in funds to the Dept of Health's Tobacco Control Program. Legislation was introduced towards these measures. While the bills did not move forward, we organized strong testimonies and made a good case in both the House and Senate Finance hearings. Research shows, in order to have an impact on health, as well as in the budget, an increase of at least 50-cents on the tobacco tax was necessary. The Governor proposed and the Assembly included a 4-cent increase in the final budget. TFRI advocate Dr. Elizabeth Lange talks about tobacco tax increases in her letter to the editor in the Providence Journal.

Thanks to our Champions, Partners and Advocates!

RI Tobacco Control Network is a NETWORK of dedicated state leaders, legislative champions, health advocate partners, member organizations and advocates. We wouldn't be successful without a dynamic group behind this work. Thank you all for being part of this work.

Legislative Champions:

Special thanks to all the lead sponsors and co-sponsors of the TFRI legislative initiatives this year:

  • Increase Tobacco Control Program Funding: Representatives Joe McNamara and Eileen Naughton; Senators Lou DiPalma, Josh Miller, Donna Nesselbush, Rhoda Perry and Juan Pichardo.
  • Increase Tobacco Tax by 90-cents (and increase TCP funding): Representatives Art Handy, Larry Valencia, Joe McNamara, David Bennett, and Jay O'Grady.
  • Reclassify Little Cigars: Representatives Grace Diaz, Scott Slater, Eileen Naughton, Jan Malik, and Joe McNamara; Senators Juan Pichardo, Harold Metts, Rhoda Perry.

Other Elected Officials:

  • Governor Lincoln Chafee, and key members of his administration.
  • Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, and key members of his administration.
  • Mayor Angel Taveras, and key members of his administration.

and... the TFRI Member Organizations, partners, advocates and YOU!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
TFRI Quarterly Meeting

August 15-17, 2012
National Conference on Tobacco or Health
Kansas City, MO

June 26-28, 2012
The New Public Health – Rewiring for the Future
Midyear meeting of the American Public Health Association
Charlotte, NC
More Info

Photo: Providence Journal, as seen June 1, 2012
Thursday, May 31, 2012
TFRI World No Tobacco Day Celebration
Rhode Island State House
More Info

Our May 31 World No Tobacco Day was a big success!
We staged the first-ever flash mob at the Rhode Island State House!

Thanks to the wonderful youth dancers from the Providence JUMP! Dance Company, and their director, Mary Paula Hunter, who choreographed and led the flash mob!

Speakers included RI Governor Lincoln Chafee; Providence Mayor Angel Taveras; State Representative Juan Pichardo; Ron Lizotte, cancer survivor; high school student and Young Voices member, Julian Santiago; and elementary school student Alexia Teixeira.

Thank you to all TFRI's member organizations, all our great volunteers, and all who came, for creating a memorable event that made an impact on our state elected officials!

Thank you to Lifespan Community Health Services for donating the tee shirts!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012   1:00 pm
Upcoming Bill Hearings — House Finance:

  • Raise the Cigarette Excise Tax - TFRI SUPPORTS THIS BILL
    House Bill No. 7715 (Handy, Valencia, McNamara, Bennett, O`Grady) would raise the Rhode Island cigarette tax by ninety cents, to $4.36 per pack. Data shows that raising cigarette taxes always reduces smoking by providing an additional financial incentive to smokers to quit, and it always increases state revenue.
  • Increase Tobacco Control Program Funding - TFRI SUPPORTS THIS BILL
    House Bill No. 7339 (Reps McNamara, Naughton) would increase funds to the Tobacco Control Program to $3.1 million - RI's historic high. This bill would improve the Tobacco Control Program's ability to prevent and reduce smoking in Rhode Island and bring us closer to the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention's Best Practices recommended minimum of $15.2 million in annual funding.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012   1:00 pm
Upcoming Bill Hearings — House Finance:

  • House Bill No. 7383   TFRI SUPPORTS THIS BILL
    BY Diaz, Slater, Naughton, Malik, McNamara
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - LITTLE CIGARS {LC988/1} (would tax little cigars the same as cigarettes)
  • House Bill No. 7421
    BY McNamara, Naughton, Hearn
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - TOBACCO PRODUCT SALES {LC1214/1} (would provide that any person maintaining a roll your own cigarette machine at a retail establishment must pay the required excise tax and abide by other laws of the RI general laws relating to the requirements of a cigarette manufacturer.)
  • House Bill No. 7639   TFRI OPPOSES THIS BILL
    BY Phillips, Edwards, Costa, Menard, Messier
    ENTITLED, AN ACT RELATING TO TAXATION - CIGARETTE TAX {LC1350/1} (would reduce the cigarette tax by one dollar ($1.00) per pack.)

Kick Butts Day 2012KICK BUTTS DAY 2012 — A GREAT SUCCESS!
Over 50 youth came out to a rally at the State House on Kick Butts Day, March 21. During the event, the Kicking Butts on Film PSA contest winners were announced. Click here to check out the videos.

Kick Butts Day is a day of activism where thousands of youth throughout the country Stand Up, Speak Out, and Seize Control Against Big Tobacco! We were joined throughout the day by legislators at the State House. Representative Larry Valencia (D-District 29, Charlestown, Exeter , Richmond) introduced a Resolution read on the House floor recognizing Kick Butts Day and the voice of the youth participating in the event.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012   12:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Day at the Statehouse
Get comfortable in the "people's house"! Please join tobacco control advocates from across the state for the TFRI's Day at the Statehouse - an insiders' perspective. Learn tips for effective advocacy from a lawmaker, a lobbyist, a key committee staffer and more. Please invite your volunteers, staff and community partners to join us! It will be interesting, educational, empowering…and fun!
Rhode Island State House
State Room – 2nd floor
Providence, RI

  • 12:30 – 2:00 Panel discussion with key players at the RI State House
  • 2:00 – 3:00 Tour of your State House

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c/o American Lung Association of Rhode Island 260 West Exchange Street Providence, RI 02903