Strategy 3.1 - Increasing Policy Supports and Incentives for Smoking Cessation and Treatment Use

    • May 25, 2010

What Is Known About Policies to Encourage Quitting and Proven Tobacco-Cessation Treatments

RWJF's effort to increase the use of proven tobacco-cessation methods included supporting research, advocacy, action and communications to identify and expand tobacco-control policies to boost population quit rates and treatment use. Such policies make smoking less appealing by increasing the social and financial "costs" of smoking or decreasing access to places to smoke, and thus lead to heightened quitting motivation, use of accessible treatment, and social support for quitting and staying smoke-free.

Tobacco-control policies can improve smokers' chances of successfully quitting. Studies show that policies that make tobacco use less appealing (like increased taxes, restricting tobacco industry marketing, smoke-free policies and anti-tobacco media campaigns) have the greatest chance of reducing tobacco use. (See Ten Policy Changes That Could Curb Tobacco Addiction.)

Key RWJF-Sponsored Initiatives: Research

  • Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP) (1994–2010) and its predecessor, the Tobacco Policy Research and Evaluation Program (TPREP) (1992–96) have supported policy relevant, peer-reviewed research that increases understanding of policies for reducing harm caused by substance abuse, including tobacco use. These programs provided seminal findings showing the beneficial effects of tobacco tax and price increases, anti-smoking media campaigns and smoke-free air laws on smoking prevention and cessation. They also documented the synergistic effects of comprehensive and combined public health tobacco-control policies on population and treatment use. (See Program Results on SAPRP, Program Results on TPREP and SAPRP Knowledge Assets.)
  • Bridging the Gap/ImpacTeen is an interdisciplinary partnership of nationally recognized substance abuse researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the role of policy and environmental factors in youth substance abuse, including tobacco use. This program helped document the links between school, community, state and federal tobacco-control policies and youth tobacco-use initiation and cessation.

Key RWJF-Sponsored Initiatives: Action to Put Research Into Practice

  • Smokeless States National Tobacco Policy Initiative (1993–2004) supported the activities of statewide coalitions working to improve the tobacco policy environment, with the goal of reducing tobacco use. Coalitions of community groups developed and implemented comprehensive tobacco-control programs that included education, treatment and policy initiatives to prevent tobacco use and promote adult cessation. During the program's life many states increased their tobacco taxes. (See Program Results, anthology article and compilation of key products from the initiative.)
  • Tobacco Policy Change (2004–09) has provided resources and technical assistance for community, regional and national organizations, and tribal groups advocating for effective tobacco-prevention and cessation-policy initiatives with a special emphasis on reaching underserved, high-risk populations where tobacco-use prevalence is highest and tobacco-control resources are least available.
  • Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium (2001–08) provided technical assistance to community-based organizations working for tobacco-policy change. (See Program Results.)
  • The National Action Plan for Tobacco Cessation (2003), co-funded by RWJF, the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research, and the American Legacy Foundation, was a federal committee that made six recommendations to reduce tobacco use, including for the development of a government-funded network of state telephone "quitlines," which was put into effect by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson in 2004. Michael C. Fiore, M.D., M.P.H., chaired the committee and received a 2003 Innovator Combating Substance Abuse award from RWJF to implement key components of the plan. (See his Programee Profile.) Fiore was the lead author on a seminal article in the February 2004 American Journal of Public Health, "Preventing 3 Million Premature Deaths and Helping 5 Million Smokers Quit: A National Action Plan for Tobacco Cessation."
  • The Center for Tobacco Cessation Policy Roundtable on Statewide Cessation Services developed recommendations for expanding statewide cessation services. (See Program Results.)

Key RWJF-Sponsored Initiatives: Advocacy & Communications Around What Works

  • Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (1996–ongoing) is an advocacy and public education organization dedicated to reducing tobacco use and its devastating consequences. (See Program Results.) It advocates for expanded coverage for tobacco-use treatment, for other public policies that encourage quitting and treatment use among youth and adults (e.g., tobacco excise tax increases, smoke-free air laws, anti-smoking media campaigns), and for greater investment of Master Settlement Agreement funds and tobacco-excise tax funds into proven comprehensive tobacco-control programs, including cessation programs and services.

Other Related Resources Funded by RWJF

  • Julia Carol received a 2001 Innovator Combating Substance Abuse award from RWJF to expand a Tobacco Industry Tracking Database and make it available on the Internet. The database provides information to help individuals and organizations expose and counter tobacco industry interference with public health efforts. (See her Programee Profile.)
  • James L. Repace, M.Sc., received a 2002 Innovator Combating Substance Abuse award from RWJF to test whether nonsmoking sections and ventilation systems in restaurants could protect nonsmoking patrons from inhaling second-hand smoke. (See his Programee Profile about how he secretly measured second-hand smoke in restaurants and what he found.)
  • Jack E. Henningfield, Ph.D., received a 2003 Innovator Combating Substance Abuse award from RWJF to establish a systematic approach to bring tobacco-addiction science to the attention of policy-makers. (See his Programee Profile.)