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.
- Smoking in Movies and Television: A variety of RWJF-supported initiatives to reduce the portrayal of smoking in movies and on television, including issuing media awards, supporting pioneers in the field and sponsoring research studies.
- An Overview of Smoke-Free Air Laws: The history, scope and impact of smoke-free air laws across the country, their growing popularity and the contributions made by RWJF and our partners.
- Social Norms and Attitudes About Smoking, 1991–2010: Changes in social norms and attitudes about tobacco use, and the parallel evolution of programs supported by RWJF and its collaborators.
- RWJF's Investment in Tobacco Cessation: A description of the three-pronged strategy RWJF used to help people quit smoking.
- The Impact of Tax and Smoke-Free Air Policy Changes: Progress made over two decades in raising tobacco product excise taxes and in adopting and strengthening policies that limit smoking in public places and private worksites.
- RWJF's Tobacco Work: A description of major programs, strategies, and focus areas contained in an inventory of RWJF's tobacco-related grants.
- Major Tobacco-Related Events in the United States: Activities from WWII to 2010 by the tobacco companies, federal and state regulations and taxes, and links of tobacco to heart disease and cancer.
- Surgeon General's Reports on Tobacco: A description of seminal reports, since 1964, linking tobacco and health.
- Tobacco Ads Through the Years: A collection of links to 299 tobacco company advertisements, going back to 1910, illustrating how tobacco ads have evolved with American culture.
- Tobacco-Control Work, 1991–2010: A collection of slides charting smoking in the United States, the evolution of tobacco control, and the role RWJF played in reducing smoking.
- Smokers and Smoking-Related Deaths: A slide show illustrating the impact on reducing smoking and smoking-related deaths during RWJF's tobacco-control and cessation work.