PIRE Publication - Rating the effectiveness of local tobacco policies for reducing youth smoking

Important questions remain regarding the effectiveness of local tobacco policies for preventing and reducing youth tobacco use and the relative importance of these policies. The aims of this paper are to: (1) compare policy effectiveness ratings provided by researchers and tobacco prevention specialists for individual local tobacco policies, and (2) develop and describe a systematic approach to score communities for locally-implemented tobacco policies. We reviewed municipal codes of 50 California communities to identify local tobacco regulations in five sub-domains. We then developed an instrument to rate the effectiveness of these policies and administered it to an expert panel of 40 tobacco researchers and specialists. We compared mean policy effectiveness ratings obtained from researchers and prevention specialists and used it to score the 50 communities. High inter-rater reliabilities obtained for each subdomain indicated substantial agreement among the raters about relative policy effectiveness. Results showed that, although researchers and prevention specialists differed on the mean levels of policy ratings, their relative rank ordering of the effectiveness of policy sub-domains were very similar. While both researchers and prevention specialists viewed local outdoor clean air policies as least effective in preventing and reducing youth cigarette smoking, they rated tobacco sales policies and advertising and promotion as more effective than the other policies. Moreover,we found high correlations between community scores generated from researchers’ and prevention specialists’ ratings. This approach can be used to inform research on local policies and prevention efforts and help bridge the gap between research and practice.

Lipperman-Kreda, Sharon
Friend, Karen B.
Grube, Joel W.