Context: The Tobacco Control Network (TCN) is comprised of the tobacco control programs in the health departments of states, territories, and the District of Columbia. During the assessment period, the TCN was managed by the Tobacco Technical Assistance Consortium at Emory University.
Objective: To assess the readiness of state and territory tobacco control programs to work on evidence-based, promising policy and system change strategies aimed at preventing and reducing tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure.
Design: The Policy Readiness and Stage of Change Assessment was a Web-based survey fielded in September 2013, which was based on the Community Readiness Model.
Setting: Fifty-nine comprehensive tobacco control programs.
Participants: State and territory tobacco control program managers and their internal and external partners.
Intervention: The TCN's 2012 Policy Platform recommendations were used as the basis to assess state/territory readiness to adopt and implement evidence-based and promising tobacco control policy/system change strategies.
Main outcome measures: Sixteen tobacco control strategies were rated on: (1) implementation status, (2) readiness, (3) stage of change, and (4) the appropriate level of action for work on the strategy.
Results: The 3 strategies with the highest readiness scores were as follows: (1) 100% smoke-free air in workplaces (64%), (2) tobacco-free schools (61%), and (3) $1.50 or less cigarette tax with funds to tobacco control (53%). The 3 strategies with lowest readiness scores were: 1) coupon redemption (17%), 2) tobacco mitigation fee (14%), and 3) disclosure or sunshine laws (8%).
Conclusion: Readiness to work on tobacco control strategies varied by region and strategy. Many states/territories are ready to work on strategies for which there is less evidence of a population-level impact for reducing tobacco use, but which contribute to denormalizing tobacco use. Working toward less impactful policies may build support, capacity, and policy success, laying an important foundation to achieve more impactful strategies.