The Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program is a grant program administered by the CDC for education on tobacco use and obesity prevention.   All grant recipients are notified that it is illegal to use the funds for lobbying, but a CoA investigation has uncovered seven new instances where your federal tax dollars were used to push for higher taxes and new ordinances. Our investigation shows how the CDC failed to conduct proper oversight of the CPPW program. While the CDC was made aware of the Florence County, SC violation, CoA uncovered seven additional communities in risk of violating federal law and HHS guidelines.

Read more in our Press Release or see the full report here. 

Florence County, SC

$6 million for tobacco control

 Illegal Lobbying 

  • The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and the Smoke Free Florence (SFF) coalition used the grant money to lobby in support of a smoke-free ordinance.
    • This email from a DHEC employee describes lobbying  two members of the county commission (Glynn and Buddy): 


  • CPPW staff at DHEC attempted to cover-up the lobbying by altering the meeting minutes.
    • “DHEC would like to go through the past meeting minutes to “massage” them and take out the details.”
    • “He said that it is not unethical because they are not looking to “twist” things that were written, just remove the details.”

Pima County, AZ

$15.8 million for obesity prevention 

  • The Pima County Health Department (PCHD) used taxpayer dollars to contract with the University of Arizona to lead policy workshops and develop neighborhood plans in support of zoning codes, regulations, and ordinances.

Out in the Open

  • The sub-contract for the University of Arizona College Of Architecture clearly states that the grantee will be “engaging public officials.”  

Jefferson County, AL

$13.3 million for tobacco control and obesity prevention

  • CPPW funds paid 80% of the salary for a “Director of Advocacy” with the following duties and responsibilities: 

Miami-Dade County, FL

$14.7 million for obesity prevention 

  • The Miami-Dade County Health Department (MDCHD) used taxpayer funds to hire the Health Council of South Florida to provide a legislative agenda for CPPW-funded policy work.

Mobile County, AL

$2.4 million for obesity prevention 

  • CPPW funds paid the salary of an “outreach coordinator” who worked with the TFMC to “educate decision makers about the benefit of 100% percent smoke-free policy, increasing the unit price of tobacco products, and reducing tobacco advertising. 

Los Angeles County, CA

$32.1 million for tobacco control and obesity prevention

  • LA Public Health used CPPW funds to  hire a “Legislated Policy Project Coordinator” who managed teams of policy liaisons, community organizers and community representatives

 Santa Clara County, CA

$6.9 million for tobacco control

  • The Santa Clara County Public Health Department (Santa Clara Health) used tax dollars to hire a tobacco retail license coordinator to lobby for a workplace smoking ordinance and also used CPPW funds to support a state-wide tobacco tax increase.

DeKalb County, GA

$3.2 million for tobacco control and obesity prevention

  • The DeKalb County Board of Health (DCBH) used CPPW funds to support the adoption of a strengthened county CIAO and partnered with the Georgia Alliance for Tobacco Prevention (GA Alliance) to train coalition partners and finance a media campaign in support of state cigarette tax increase.