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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Tobacco Control In California: Who's Winning The War? An Evalution of the Tobacco Control Program, 1989-1996


Executive Summary

The California Department of Health Services contracted with the University of California, San Diego, to conduct a series of California Tobacco Surveys and to provide an independent and scientific assessment of the progress of the California Tobacco Control Program. Any interpretations of data or conclusions expressed in this report are those of the authors and may not represent the views of the State of California.

A primary goal of the Tobacco Control Program is to reduce smoking among California adults and adolescents. Assessment of Program progress in meeting this goal involves an examination of trends in per capita cigarette consumption and smoking prevalence. Program effects must be distinguished from differences resulting from changes in the demographic profile of the California population. Standardized prevalence estimates were more rapid decline in smoking than existed previously or that occurred in the rest of the United States. Moreover, the effect should persist over time.

The analysis considered two periods in the Tobacco Control Program, suggested by changes in per capita cigarette consumption trends, standardized adult smoking prevalence estimates from the California Tobacco Surveys, and the relative level of funding for the Program and what the tobacco industry spends to promote smoking. Before fiscal year 1992-1993, the ratio of spending was 5:1 in favor of the tobacco industry and subsequently it was 10:1. The higher ratio resulted from funding for the Tobacco Control Program and increased tobacco industry expenditures.

The first part of this executive summary presents a brief overview of the main evaluative outcomes relative to the California Tobacco Control Program: smoking behavior and exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke. Following this brief overview, trends in smoking behavior are discussed in more detail. Finally, other important findings, including those relating to secondhand smoke, are summarized under the five main tobacco control strategies identified by the Tobacco Education, Research, and Oversight Committee (TEROC).

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