Tobacco Control Laws: Implementation and Enforcement

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9780833024862: Tobacco Control Laws: Implementation and Enforcement

In this study, the authors examined the process by which anti-tobacco laws and ordinances were implemented and enforced in seven states and 19 localities. Their findings indicated that state- and local-level clean indoor air laws were rarely enforced by government agencies. Instead, these laws were largely self-enforcing, in that changed social norms regarding appropriate smoking behavior have led to high compliance rates. In contrast, teen access laws were consistently and vigorously enforced, mainly through periodic vendor compliance checks that were conducted in many of the sites visited. The authors also found that anti-tobacco forces do not devote a significant amount of resources to implementation and enforcement issues. Rather, their attention is focused on enacting new legislation and fighting tobacco industry attempts to weaken existing laws through, for example, state preemption of local ordinances. Finally, the authors found that local enforcement is a critical ingredient to the success of virtually any tobacco control effort. The study's results do not augur well for public health measures that require state-level enforcement that are opposed by powerful and politically well-connected interests. To be effective, legislation must contain specific enforcement measures, such as license removal by local authorities.

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From the Publisher:

This report was developed under a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Substance Abuse Policy ResearchProgram. In this project, RAND assessed the implementation and enforcement of tobacco control laws in seven states. Fortobacco control legislation to be an effective public policy approach, the implementation and enforcement of the laws must bediffused to the public, to business establishments, and to tobacco vendors. Understanding the process of diffusion, andespecially barriers to enforcement or implementation, will assist policymakers, legislators, and interested stakeholders indesigning an effective anti-tobacco strategy. This document should therefore be of interest to federal, state, and local legislatorsand health policymakers; tobacco control advocates and other health care stakeholders; and health policy researchers.

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How are anti-tobacco laws implemented and enforced at the state and local levels? What role do anti-tobacco coalitions play once statewide legislation is enacted? What are the most effective legislative and regulatory strategies? Tobacco Control Laws: Implementation and Enforcement answers these questions and more. Although the results do not augur well for state-level enforcement of public health measures that are opposed by powerful and politically well-connected interests, the authors find that tobacco control legislation can be effectively implemented and enforced locally with support from the public, business establishments, and tobacco vendors. Legislation and implementation are intertwined, and understanding the barriers to enforcement will assist policymakers, legislators, and interested stakeholders in designing an effective anti-tobacco strategy.

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