1997 Conference Studies Tobacco Control in States that Increased Tobacco Taxes

National conference on the creation of statewide tobacco control programs using tobacco tax funds

The Cancer Prevention and Control Center at Boston University Medical Center convened a conference on October 3–4, 1997, in Waltham, Mass, at which representatives from four states that had passed tobacco tax initiatives discussed issues they had faced.

This project to develop an analysis of what works and does not work in the process of creating statewide tobacco control programs after voters approve an increase in their state's tobacco tax.

Between 1988 and 1996, voters in four states—California, Massachusetts, Arizona, and Oregon—approved ballot initiatives that both raised their states' cigarette taxes and dedicated all or part of the resulting revenues to tobacco control programs.

Key Results

  • The conference identified common lessons from the tobacco-initiative states and discussed effective approaches to tobacco control.

    The 59 participants included representatives of each of the four states that had passed tobacco tax initiatives, as well as other organizations interested in smoking and tobacco issues.

    Conference topics included:
    • The history of successful ballot initiatives.
    • Getting key players to work together and defending against diversion of tobacco taxes into spending other than for tobacco control.
    • Designing an effective statewide tobacco control program.
    • Defining an effective counter-advertising campaign; and methods and strategies for evaluation.
  • Conference proceedings, plus overview articles and a resource listing, were published as a special supplement to Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported the project with a grant of $190,009 between June 1997 and March 1999.

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