Objective: In response to inquiries regarding the processes of developing a Tobacco Control Plan (TCP) for the Central Sydney Area Health Service (which in 1997 allocated dedicated funding of $ 800,000 over 2 1/2 years to implement the plan), this article describes the strengths and weaknesses of the TCP and outlines the process which contributed to its funding.
Conclusions: Consistent with national and state priorities, the TCP recommended strategies based on best available evidence in the four action areas: reducing sales of cigarettes to minors, marketing, passive smoking and smoking cessation. Funding of this amount for a single public health issue at a local level represents a unique achievement in the application of an evidence-based approach to population health.
Implications: Key elements of our advocacy methods included the involvement of all key primary health care and clinical stakeholders; comprehensive background research to identify evidence-based strategies; careful attention to budget options; strategic lobbying of senior staff and decision makers; the proposal for a multidisciplinary management structure for the TCP and specifications for funding allocation and evaluation. Early achievements and other reflections are discussed.