Greater investments in tobacco control programs are independently and significantly associated with larger and more rapid declines in adult smoking prevalence, according to a study by researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and RTI International.

Researchers were able to quantify the link between comprehensive tobacco control programs and a decrease in adult smoking, observing a decline in prevalence from 29.5 percent in 1985 to 18.6 percent in 2003.

The study, "The Impact of Tobacco Control Programs on Adult Smoking," is the first of its kind to use multi state survey data on smoking to examine the association between cumulative state tobacco control program spending and changes in adult smoking prevalence. Combining educational, clinical, regulatory, economic, and social strategies, these comprehensive programs encompass coordinated efforts to establish smoke-free policies and social norms, to promote and assist tobacco users to quit, and to prevent initiation of tobacco use.

Matthew Farrelly, Ph.D., RTI International and lead author of the study said, "The study showed that sustained, well funded programs become increasingly effective over time. As states build capacity for tobacco control, they make better and better use of each additional dollar."

The study also found that increases in both tobacco control program expenditures and cigarette prices were effective in reducing smoking prevalence among adults, with tobacco control program expenditures somewhat more effective in reducing smoking prevalence among adults aged 25 or older, while increases in cigarette prices had a stronger effect on 18 to 24 year old smokers.

Terry Pechacek, Ph.D., associate director for science, Office on Smoking and Health, CDC, said, "These results show that if states consistently fund programs at recommended levels, outlined in Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, they could substantially reduce adult smoking prevalence, and thus reduce smoking-related morbidity, mortality, and economic costs."

The study, published in the February 2008 issue of the American Journal of Public Health, analysed data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.


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