UMMS Affiliation

Tobacco Treatment Specialist Training Program, Center for Tobacco Treatment Research and Training; Department of Population and Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date


Document Type



Environmental Public Health | Health Services Administration | Medical Education | Substance Abuse and Addiction


Tobacco use is projected to kill 1 billion people in the 21st century. Tobacco Use Disorder (TUD) is one of the most common substance use disorders in the world. Evidence-based treatment of TUD is effective, but treatment accessibility remains very low. A dearth of specially trained clinicians is a significant barrier to treatment accessibility, even within systems of care that implement brief intervention models. The treatment of TUD is becoming more complex and tailoring treatment to address new and traditional tobacco products is needed. The Council for Tobacco Treatment Training Programs (Council) is the accrediting body for Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS) training programs. Between 2016 and 2019, n = 7761 trainees completed Council-accredited TTS training programs. Trainees were primarily from North America (92.6%) and the Eastern Mediterranean (6.1%) and were trained via in-person group workshops in medical and academic settings. From 2016 to 2019, the number of Council-accredited training programs increased from 14 to 22 and annual number of trainees increased by 28.5%. Trainees have diverse professional backgrounds and work in diverse settings but were primarily White (69.1%) and female (78.7%) located in North America. Nearly two-thirds intended to implement tobacco treatment services in their setting; two-thirds had been providing tobacco treatment for 1 year or less; and 20% were sent to training by their employers. These findings suggest that the training programs are contributing to the development of a new workforce of TTSs as well as the development of new programmatic tobacco treatment services in diverse settings. Developing strategies to support attendance from demographically and geographically diverse professionals might increase the proportion of trainees from marginalized groups and regions of the world with significant tobacco-related inequities.


evidence-based practice, health care professional training, smoking cessation, tobacco dependence treatment

Rights and Permissions

Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

DOI of Published Version



Sheffer CE, Al-Zalabani A, Aubrey A, Bader R, Beltrez C, Bennett S, Carl E, Cranos C, Darville A, Greyber J, Karam-Hage M, Hawari F, Hutcheson T, Hynes V, Kotsen C, Leone F, McConaha J, McCary H, Meade C, Messick C, Morgan SK, Morris CW, Payne T, Retzlaff J, Santis W, Short E, Shumaker T, Steinberg M, Wendling A. The Emerging Global Tobacco Treatment Workforce: Characteristics of Tobacco Treatment Specialists Trained in Council-Accredited Training Programs from 2017 to 2019. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Mar 2;18(5):2416. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18052416. PMID: 33801227; PMCID: PMC7967787. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

International journal of environmental research and public health


Full author list omitted for brevity. For the full list of authors, see article.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.