MATCH (Mobilize Against Tobacco for Connecticut’s Health), formed in 1995, and was awarded the first SmokeLess States Grant in Connecticut in March 1997. As a direct result of the SmokeLess States Grant, the coalition grew from 26 member organizations to over 120 in two years. MATCH Coalition, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization. Its mission is to 1) advocate for resources for public health policies to reduce the use of tobacco among children and adults, and 2) to implement and coordinate programs furthering those goals. The MATCH Board of Directors consists of 1 member each from the American Cancer Society, New England Division, the American Lung Association, New England Division, and the American Heart Association, Connecticut and Rhode Island Chapter; three members representing the Connecticut Regional Action Councils on Substance Abuse, one member representing the Connecticut Association of Directors of Health, one member representing the Hezekiah Beardsley Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, one member representing youth, and six at-large members.
MATCH is the recognized, statewide coalition for anti-tobacco collaboration and policy change. Between 2002 – 2006, MATCH received a variety of state and private sector grants for policy change, tobacco cessation and other tobacco control purposes totaling over $1.1 million. The MATCH Coalition and the State of Connecticut have worked together to achieve many goals including:
- Passage of a comprehensive Clean Indoor Air law in 2003
- Increases in tobacco excise taxes from $0.52in 2002, and to a total of $3.40 per pack in 2010
- Restrictions in tobacco product placement and licensing
- Authorization and funding of a comprehensive, tobacco-cessation benefit for Medicaid clients
- Sponsored and coordinated the Annual Youth Rally Against Tobacco at the State Capitol
- Awarded an American Legacy Foundation Grant to implement a 3-year program (2003-2005) targeting tobacco use in the Hispanic/Latino Community. Hartford Hospital conducted community-based research to offer bilingual and culturally appropriate cessations services the results of which verified the efficacy of such programs in this high risk community.
- Outreach to Connecticut’s faith-based community, creating the Connecticut Faith Leaders Initiative Against Tobacco
- Advocated to protect the Tobacco and Health Trust Fund and utilize the fundsas intended. In 2008 the legislature amended the authority of the THTF Board to spend up to half ($6 million) the funds transferred to the principal in the previous year. MATCH has a seat on the Trust Fund Board.
- Outreach to Connecticut’s LGBTQI community working with True Colors, Inc.
- Advocated for a total smoking ban in Connecticut casinos