The Tobacco Campaigns

Of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Collaborators, 1991-2010

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In 1991 the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) began to tackle one of the most intractable problems in the field of public health—tobacco addiction. Over the next two decades, it invested significant funds and talent and joined forces with advocates and researchers, promoting coalitions and facilitating the work of collaborators. The work focused on policy and systems changes, such as higher tobacco excise taxes, smoke-free indoor air laws, access to cessation treatments and the federal regulation of tobacco.

In January 2009 the Foundation contracted with the Center for Public Program Evaluation to provide an independent assessment of its tobacco work. This report summarizes what that study found as of June 2010. It is not possible to categorically attribute or allocate a fair share of the results of their combined efforts to RWJF or to any of the leading tobacco-control funders and advocates. Therefore, the analysis focuses on what they did together.

This report, and its companion publications below, tell the story of the major tactical shifts these groups made to reduce the use of tobacco in the United States and of profound changes in social norms about smoking that took hold during the 20 years of their collaboration.

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