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The Tobacco Control Network's Policy Readiness and Stage of Change Assessment: What the Results Suggest for Moving Tobacco Control Efforts Forward at the State and Territorial Levels

Roeseler, April MSPH, BSN; Solomon, Madeleine MPH; Beatty, Carissa MPH, CHES; Sipler, Alison M. MPH, CHES

Journal of Public Health Management & Practice: January/February 2016 - Volume 22 - Issue 1 - p 9–19
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000247
Original Articles

Context: The Tobacco Control Network (TCN) is comprised of the tobacco control programs in the health departments of states, territories, and the District of Columbia. During the assessment period, the TCN was managed by the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium at Emory University.

Objective: To assess the readiness of state and territory tobacco control programs to work on evidence-based, promising policy and system change strategies aimed at preventing and reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

Design: The Policy Readiness and Stage of Change Assessment was a Web-based survey fielded in September 2013, which was based on the Community Readiness Model.

Setting: Fifty-nine comprehensive tobacco control programs.

Participants: State and territory tobacco control program managers and their internal and external partners.

Intervention: The TCN's 2012 Policy Platform recommendations were used as the basis to assess state/territory readiness to adopt and implement evidence-based and promising tobacco control policy/system change strategies.

Main Outcome Measures: Sixteen tobacco control strategies were rated on: (1) implementation status, (2) readiness, (3) stage of change, and (4) the appropriate level of action for work on the strategy.

Results: The 3 strategies with the highest readiness scores were as follows: (1) 100% smoke-free air in workplaces (64%), (2) tobacco-free schools (61%), and (3) $1.50 or less cigarette tax with funds to tobacco control (53%). The 3 strategies with lowest readiness scores were: 1) coupon redemption (17%), 2) tobacco mitigation fee (14%), and 3) disclosure or sunshine laws (8%).

Conclusion: Readiness to work on tobacco control strategies varied by region and strategy. Many states/territories are ready to work on strategies for which there is less evidence of a population-level impact for reducing tobacco use, but which contribute to denormalizing tobacco use. Working toward less impactful policies may build support, capacity, and policy success, laying an important foundation to achieve more impactful strategies.

The objective of this study was to assess the readiness of state and territory tobacco control programs to work on evidence-based, promising policy and system change strategies aimed at preventing and reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.

California Tobacco Control Program, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, California (Ms Roeseler); and Emory University, Emory Centers for Training and Technical Assistance, Atlanta, Georgia (Mss Solomon, Beatty, and Sipler).

Correspondence: April Roeseler, MSPH, BSN, California Tobacco Control Program, California Department of Public Health, PO Box 997377, MS 7206 Sacramento, CA 95899 (april.roeseler@cdph.ca.gov).

The authors thank Josh Berry, Student Intern, Emory University, for his assistance with programming the Web-based survey and creation of figures.

The Tobacco Control Network Policy Readiness and Stage of Change Assessment was fielded by the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium (TTAC) at Emory University, which received funding from the Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under contract number: 200-2013-M-57407.

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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