Online Tobacco Control Information Can Be Improved
From 2000 to 2001, Philippe Boucher, a consultant in Bainbridge Island, Wash., inventoried and evaluated tobacco control Web sites and online services.
Internet tools are crucial as a way to manage tobacco control information. However, health agencies and other groups that create Web sites and online services do so in isolation, an approach that prevents them from making the most of other online initiatives and adopting better practices. Boucher:
- Inventoried and indexed tobacco control Web site efforts of all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
- Surveyed approximately 200 webmasters from tobacco control sites run by states, commercial organizations and nonprofit organizations.
- Evaluated tobacco control Web sites and outlined best practices.
- Did 52 online interviews with prominent tobacco advocates.
Boucher started these weekly online interviews in 1999. The interviews funded by this project started on November 1, 2000 (Ross Hammond interview) and ended on February 25, 2002 (Andrew Pendleton interview). The interviews appear online. Boucher has also published 45 of them in a book, People and Issues in Tobacco Control.
The assessment of tobacco control online services revealed that:
- Tobacco control decision-makers do not yet consider funding Internet projects a priority.
- Because there is so much tobacco control information available, a clearinghouse with daily, weekly and monthly selections is necessary to sort and present the most important news.
- Many tobacco control professionals still do not use the Internet for tobacco control news and information. To reach the U.S. tobacco control community, it is therefore advisable to create a quarterly paper, providing a forum where people could share their initiatives, ideas and problems as a complement to online services.
- Only a few states (Arizona, Massachusetts, Minnesota, California, Florida, Indiana, Maine, Mississippi, Oregon, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin) have or are developing comprehensive, well-designed tobacco control Web sites. Half of the states either do not operate a tobacco control Web site or have sites with little information; of those states that do have tobacco control Web sites, half rarely update them.
To help new sites perform better, Boucher recommended establishing a cooperative network of tobacco control webmasters, and suggested that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) bring together its Internet-based tobacco control projects to construct such a framework. As a starting point for best practices, the project director recommended that all Web sites include the following:
- A staff directory.
- Key quantitative data (smoking prevalence, budget, sales, taxes, industry ads, regulations).
- Recent and archived past news.
- Program evaluations in an accessible format (i.e. non-pdf).
- Detailed descriptions of ongoing projects.
- Regular and frequent updating.
- An e-mail address for questions.
- Listserves to help partners communicate.
- Reference and specialized site links.
- Traffic information including the number of visitors and pages.
Boucher also proposed a number of Web projects including online information from tobacco control conferences such as abstracts of presentations, and a yearbook of tobacco control activities.
Boucher wrote two reports about the project findings for RWJF:
- How to Improve Online Tobacco Control Information.
- Tobacco Control Sites Index: State-by-State Evaluation Sheet, January/October 2001.
He also edited and self-published (printed on demand) a 402-page book, People and Issues in Tobacco Control, which includes 124 interviews, 45 prepared under this grant. For information, contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A $48,944 contract from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this work from November 2000 to October 2001.
After the Grant
Boucher is now preparing an online directory of tobacco control professionals under a $100,000 contract from RWJF (ID# 044742). More than 300 Web sites are listed and described.
GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION
Improving Online Tobacco Control Information
Philippe Boucher (Bainbridge Island, WA)
Dates: November 2000 to October 2001
(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)
Boucher, P. People and Issues in Tobacco Control. Oak Press: Bainbridge Island, Wash. It includes 140 interviews, 45 of which were conducted under this grant. All the interviews also appear online.
- Ross Hammond, independent consultant, November 1, 2000.
- Anna White, coordinator of the Global Partnerships for Tobacco Control program, Essential Action, Washington, D.C., November 8, 2000.
- Debi, laryngectomy patient and tobacco control advocate, Calif., November 16, 2000.
- Elizabeth Barbeau, Center for Community-Based Research in the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Department of Health and Social Behavior at the Harvard School of Public Health, November 24, 2000.
- Jon Krueger, tobacco editor with the Open Directory Project, December 4, 2000.
- Helen Glasgow, executive director of the Quit Group, December 4, 2000.
- Jean-François Etter, project director, www.stop-tabac.ch, January 3, 2001.
- Sara Bogdani, youth advocate with For a Tobacco-Free Albania, January 11, 2001.
- Torrie Rosenzweig, director and film producer, Smoke and Mirrors, January 15, 2001.
- Kathryn Mulvey, executive director of INFACT, Boston, Mass., January 18, 2001.
- Leslie A. Ashburn, communications supervisor for GlaxoSmithKline consumer healthcare, Pittsburgh, Pa., January 29, 2001.
- Pekka Puska, director of International Quit and Win (www.quitandwin.org), Helsinki, Finland, February 13, 2001.
- Nancy J. Kaufman, vice president, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, N.J., February 26, 2001.
- Yol Lee, co-author of The Tobacco Industry's Successful Efforts to Control Tobacco Policy-Making in Switzerland, (January 2001), Zurich, Switzerland, March 2, 2001.
- Heather Selin, tobacco control adviser with the Pan American Health Organization, Washington D.C., March 13, 2001.
- Tara Parker-Pope, author of Cigarettes: Anatomy of an Industry from Seed to Smoke, March 22, 2001.
- Melissa Havard about the video, Secrets Through the Smoke, entertainment liaison/health communications specialist, Office on Smoking and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Ga., March 27, 2001.
- Raymond Jones, author of Strategic Management in a Hostile Environment: Lessons from the Tobacco Industry, associate professor of management, Sellinger School of Business, Loyola College, April 26, 2001.
- Gene Borio, webmaster of www.tobacco.org, April 26, 2001.
- Scott Plous, webmaster of www.joechemo.org, professor of psychology at Wesleyan University. May 3, 2001.
- David Courtwright, author of Forces of Habit, Drugs and the Making of the Modern World, professor of history at the University of North Florida, May 14, 2001.
- Patrick Reynolds, Foundation for a Smokefree America, Los Angeles, Calif., May 21, 2001.
- Cliff Douglas, independent consultant and attorney, Mich., May 28, 2001.
- Tamara Gibson, representative of SWAT (Students Working Against Tobacco), Palm Coast, Fla., June 5, 2001.
- Bob Jaffe, M.D., founder, Washington Doctors Ought to Care, clinical associate professor, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, Wash., June 13, 2001.
- Jules Maaten, member of the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France, June 29, 2001.
- Karen Emmons, associate professor of Health and Social Behavior at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Project KISS (Keeping Infants Safe from Smoke), Boston, Mass., July 10, 2001.
- Richard Pollay, curator of the History of Advertising archives, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, July 10, 2001.
- Michael Cummings, senior research scientist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, N.Y., August 4, 2001.
- Cynthia Hallett, executive director, Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights/American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, Calif., August 7, 2001.
- Dan Romer, co-author of Smoking: Risk, Perception, and Policy, research director of the Institute for Adolescent Risk Communication, Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., August 13, 2001.
- Patricia Diaz-Romo, producer of Huicholes and Pesticides, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, August 29, 2001.
- Chris Cartter, president and chief operating officer of QuitNet.com, Inc., Boston, Mass., October 27, 2001.
- Susan Magazine, editor of TobaccoTalk, Vancouver, Wash., September 21, 2001.
- Cynthia Callard, executive director, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, September 18, 2001.
- Peter Jacobson, co-author of Combating Teen Smoking: Research and Policy, associate professor, Department of Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Mich., November 12, 2001.
- Scott Leischow, chief of the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md., November 15, 2001.
- Laurie Storey-Manseau, past chair of the board of the New England division of the American Cancer Society, Hopkinton, N.H., November 19, 2001.
- Kori Titus, director of STARS and Thumbs Up! Thumbs Down!, Sacramento, Calif., and Deirdre Imershein, American Lung Association of Los Angeles County, November 26, 2001.
- Bradley Dakake, consumer associate, Mass.SSPIRG, author of the report Where There is Smoking, There is Fire, Boston, Mass., November 28, 2001.
- Stephen Sugarman, co-editor of Regulating Tobacco (Oxford University Press), law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, Calif., November 30, 2001.
- Mike Pertschuk, author of Smoke in Their Eyes, Lessons in Movement Leadership from the Tobacco Wars (Vanderbilt University Press), co-director of the Advocacy Institute, Washington, D.C., December 4, 2001.
- Timothy VanSusteren, associate dean for continuing medical education and faculty development, associate clinical professor of psychiatry and cardiology, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Fla., December 20, 2001.
- Fernand Turcotte, head of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada, December 21, 2001.
- Astrid Berg, executive director of the American Lung Association of Washington, Seattle, Wash., December 27, 2001.
- Todd Warnick, program director, Tobacco Use Cessation and Prevention Program, Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, Lexington, Ky., December 31, 2001.
- Vanessa Rodriguez and Tracey Levy, Teenage Power Alliance/Easthampton of the YWCA of Western Massachusetts, about their quilt project in remembrance of tobacco victims, Easthampton, Mass., January 15, 2002.
- Phillip Wilbur, tobacco issues field manager for the American Heart Association, Washington, D.C., January 30, 2002.
- Patrick Jamieson, researcher at the Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa., February 7, 2002.
- Terry Reid, manager of the Washington State Department of Health's Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, Olympia, Wash., February 11, 2002.
- Luk Joossens, consultant about tobacco smuggling for WHO and UICC, Brussels, Belgium, February 19, 2002.
- Elizabeth Whelan, founder and president of the American Council on Science and Health, New York, N.Y., February 22, 2002.
- Andrew Pendleton, journalist for Christian Aid, author of Hooked on Tobacco, London, United Kingdom, February 25, 2002.
Boucher P. How to Improve Online Tobacco Control Information. For the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bainbridge Island, Wash., November 2001.
Boucher P. Tobacco Control Sites Index: State-by-State Evaluation Sheet, January/October 2001. For the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Bainbridge Island, Wash., November 2001.
Philippe Boucher. Fielded via e-mail. JanuaryOctober 2001.
World Wide Web Sites
www.tobacco.org/News/rendezvous/rendezvous.html provides tobacco news and resources from around the world. Fifty-two Rendez-Vous interviews posted between November 1, 2000 and February 25, 2002.
Report prepared by: Lori De Milto
Reviewed by: Janet Spencer King
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: Nancy J. Kaufman