Objective: To assess the immediate and intermediate outcome consequences of defunding a successful tobacco use prevention program.
Methods: A four-survey repeated cross-sectional design is employed. Two surveys were completed while the program was fully operational, one after program dismantling was initiated and another about 6 months after the campaign was completely dismantled. Survey to survey trends for five immediate and six intermediate outcomes are analyzed. Changes in measures are tested employing chi-square estimated using SAS 8.
Results: Each immediate outcome measure declined significantly from the third to the fourth survey except one, and this measure declined from the second to the third survey when it was eliminated. All intermediate outcomes showed significant change from the third or second to the fourth survey. These include two measures of openness to smoking, three attitude/belief scales and one measure of intention to smoke.
Conclusions: Defunding a successful tobacco-use prevention campaign results in rapid erosion of program messages, parallel increases in susceptibility, a rapid and sharp re-emergence of pro-tobacco attitudes/beliefs and a marked rise in intentions to smoke.