March 23, 2012

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Strong Tobacco Control Program Requirements and Secure Funding Are Not Enough: Lessons From Florida

We just published a paper showing the need for ongoing pressure on politicians to keep tobacco control programs not only alive, but functioning and effective.  In Florida the health groups secured a constitutional amendment to create and fund a tobacco control program that had to follow CDC best practices.  The problem is that the Crist Administration and its health department purposefully maladministered the program so that it would not have much effect and the health groups were unwilling to force them to do a good job.

This failure not only meant that more people are smoking in Florida, but that the poor results there can be used to undermine CDC best practices, claiming that they don’t work.

Here is the abstract in the American Journal of Public Health:

Florida's Tobacco Pilot Program (TPP; 1998-2003), with its edgy Truth media campaign, achieved unprecedented youth smoking reductions and became a model for tobacco control programming. In 2006, 3 years after the TPP was defunded, public health groups restored funding for tobacco control programming by convincing Florida voters to amend their constitution. Despite the new program's strong legal structure, Governor Charlie Crist's Department of Health implemented a low-impact program. Although they secured the program's strong structure and funding, Florida's nongovernmental public health organizations did not mobilize to demand a high-impact program. Implementation of Florida's Amendment 4 demonstrates that a strong programmatic structure and secure funding are insufficient to ensure a successful public health program, without external pressure from nongovernmental groups.

Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print March 15, 2012: e1-e11. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2011.300459.

The paper can be found here.

A much more detailed report on tobacco control in Florida, that forms the basis for this paper, is available here.

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