June 2000

Grant Results

SUMMARY

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.

Funding
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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THE PROJECT

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.

These initiatives deter smoking by both raising the price of cigarettes and providing a pool of money to fund statewide tobacco control efforts. After approval of these initiatives, however, the coalitions that had led the campaign for passage faced a new challenge: how to ensure that the revenues generated were used effectively to combat tobacco use.

The coalitions had to collaborate with government agencies and private groups, ward off both tobacco industry challenges and efforts to divert the moneys to other uses, and deal with the media on a high-profile issue. Before this grant was awarded by RWJF, there had been no formal nationwide effort to identify and analyze the challenges these states were facing.

RWJF also funded a project to explore collaboration between advocates for tobacco contraol and children's health (see Grant Results on ID# 030463) which resulted in a three-day conference at Brandeis University in October 1997.

This grant sought to develop an analysis of what works and does not work in the process of creating statewide tobacco control programs after passage of a tobacco tax initiative. The Cancer Prevention and Control Center at BUMC planned to convene leaders from the four states that have passed tobacco tax initiatives in a national conference to address the major issues in creating a statewide tobacco control program; identify common themes among the states about what has and has not worked; and publish conference recommendations and guidelines for states the benefit of states wrestling with tobacco control programs. A stipend from the American Cancer Society helped defray costs of the conference's keynote dinner.

  • The conference identified common lessons from the tobacco-initiative states and discussed effective approaches to tobacco control. "Creating Statewide Tobacco Control Programs after Passage of a Tobacco Tax," took place October 3–4, l997, in Waltham, Mass. 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. The conference included five panel discussions, each with one or more representatives from all four tobacco-initiative states, on issues faced by the states:
    • "History of Successful Ballot Initiatives."
    • "Getting Key Players to Work Together and Defending Against Diversion" ("Diversion" refers to the diversion of funds from tobacco taxes into spending other than for tobacco control).
    • "Designing an Effective Statewide Tobacco Control Program."
    • "Defining an Effective Counter-advertising Campaign."
    • "Evaluation: Methods and Strategy for Evaluation."
  • A sixth session, "Recommendations for Other States," involved all conference participants in a discussion of lessons that could be applied to future initiative efforts. Massachusetts Congressman Martin Meehan gave a keynote address on "Children and Tobacco: Public Policy Initiatives for Holding Tobacco Companies Accountable."

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RESULTS

  • Conference proceedings were published as a special supplement to Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society. Each of the state presenters from the conference prepared articles on their presentations. The issue also included two overview articles on tobacco tax initiatives and a listing of key tobacco tax references and resources.
  • The project produced a report to RWJF applying the "lessons learned" from the tobacco initiatives to states now wrestling with how to allocate the proceeds of their tobacco industry litigation. Settlement of the tobacco litigation has produced a stream of revenue from the tobacco industry that states must decide how to use. The report summarized the responses of seven conference participants to an e-mail questionnaire. The respondents offered advice on building a coalition, allocating settlement funds, and lobbying. Other issues covered included whether to establish an independent organization to administer the tobacco control program, successful control efforts, and tobacco industry tactics. A second report to RWJF provided a summary of an October 25, 1998, meeting sponsored by the National Center for Tobacco-Free Kids aimed at preparing states to advocate for tobacco control funds as part of any tobacco lawsuit settlement.

Communications

The special, supplement to Cancer (December 15, 1998), including the conference proceedings, was sent to all major medical libraries in the United States as well as many public libraries. Article abstracts are also available online.

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AFTER THE GRANT

The project team plans to continue monitoring the status of tobacco suit settlements and exploring ways for states to maximize the use of tobacco tax funds.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

National Conference on the Creation of Statewide Tobacco Control Programs Using Tobacco Tax Funds

Grantee

Boston University Medical Center (Boston,  MA)

  • Amount: $ 190,009
    Dates: June 1997 to March 1999
    ID#:  031814

Contact

Alan Geller
(617) 638-7126
ageller @bu.edu

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BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Books and Reports

Pierce-Lavin C. Questions to Initiative States Regarding Tobacco Industry Settlement: A Report to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1998.

Toward Effective Advocacy of Tobacco Control Funds. Summary report submitted to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 1998.

Articles

Pierce-Lavin C, Geller A, Hyde J, and Evjy J (eds). Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Boston University School of Medicine Working Group: Creating Statewide Tobacco Control Programs after Passage of a Tobacco Tax. Cancer, 83(12 Suppl.): 1998. Distributed to all major medical and public libraries.

Sponsored Conferences

"Creating Statewide Tobacco Control Programs after Passage of a Tobacco Tax," October 3–4 l997, Waltham, MA. Attended by 59 professionals from across the United States as well as from Canada and Australia. Attendees included representatives from the four states (Arizona California, Massachusetts, and Oregon) that had implemented tobacco-tax funded prevention programs, as well as members of concerned organizations including Smokeless States, American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Coalition for Tobacco-Free Kids. One keynote address and six panel presentations were given:

Keynote Presentation

  • The Hon. Martin Meehan, "Children and Tobacco: Public Policy Initiatives for Holding Tobacco Companies Accountable."

Panels

  • "History of Successful Ballot Initiatives."
  • "Getting Key Players to Work Together and Defending Against Diversion."
  • "Designing and Effective Statewide Tobacco Control Program."
  • "Defining an Effective Counter-advertising Campaign."
  • "Evaluation: Methods and Strategy for Evaluation."
  • "Recommendations for Other States."

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Report prepared by: Sara Dulaney
Reviewed by: Robert Narus
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Nancy J. Kaufman

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