State Programs Can Reduce Tobacco Use

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In 1997 the National Cancer Policy Board, a joint program of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council (which is charged with carrying out policy analysis to help the nation deal with cancer) identified tobacco's role as the top cause of deaths as its priority.

Without drawing comparisons between state tobacco control programs and other anti-smoking efforts, this report responds to the question of whether state tobacco control programs work.

The answer: "The evidence is clear: They can."

The evidence is based primarily on two approaches: comparisons between states with different levels of intensity of tobacco control, and observations of the effects on tobacco consumption beyond those effects associated with price.

When California and Massachusetts mounted anti-tobacco programs that were better-funded and more aggressive than those in other states, they saw more of a decrease in tobacco use than did other states. And when cigarette prices dropped nationwide from 1992 to 1994, consumption did not rise in 11 of the 14 states where the anti-tobacco program ASSIST (American Stop Smoking Intervention Study) was in effect.

The study looks at six kinds of state programs: "counteradvertising" and education, establishing smoke-free workplaces and public spaces, increasing prices through taxation, supporting treatment programs for tobacco dependence, enforcing youth access restrictions, and monitoring performance and evaluating programs.

21 pages. Free on the web at Hard copies not available. Contact: Institute of Medicine, 2101 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20418. (202) 334-2169.