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Importance of Sustainability Planning

A sustainability plan outlines strategies to continue a tobacco prevention and control program. The most effective tobacco prevention and control programs are those that are able to be sustained long-term, so that they can continue to promote tobacco-free behaviors among community members. Sustainability can involve maintaining program services, staff members, and relationships among participating organizations. Tobacco prevention and control programs should tailor sustainability plans to their specific needs, goals, and resources.

Key issues to consider when planning for sustainability include:

  • What parts of the tobacco program will be sustained?
  • How will partners and stakeholders stay engaged and invested?
  • What contributions can partners and stakeholders provide?
  • What impact did the program have? How can cost-savings or other metrics associated with tobacco prevention and control program activities be documented?
  • How can human, financial, and in-kind resources from the community be leveraged to help continue the tobacco program?
  • What are short-term and long-term funding and/or reimbursement options?

In addition to sustainability plans, rural tobacco prevention and control programs may need a risk management plan to help prepare for unexpected events, such as the loss of a partner or changes in federal and state policies.

The Rural Health Information Hub provides Sustainability Planning Tools to help rural organizations plan for sustainability and information about recent funding opportunities for rural communities.