California policymakers' perspectives on tobacco endgame approaches
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University of California San Francisco, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A35
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California is uniquely positioned to achieve a tobacco endgame, due to the effectiveness of its state tobacco control program in changing public views of tobacco and of the tobacco industry, public support for stronger policy measures, and dedicated resources. However, no research has explored how California policymakers view the endgame goal and proposed options for achieving it.

We conducted interviews with 11 California state legislators and legislative aides. Questions focused on their reactions to four state-level endgame approaches: banning tobacco sales, reducing the number of retailers over a ten-year period, registering smokers, and prohibiting tobacco sales to all those born after a certain year ("tobacco-free generation").

The tobacco sales ban was rejected by most interviewees on the grounds that it would lead to black markets. Opinion was divided regarding the appeal of the remaining endgame proposals, with each drawing some support. However, interviewees identified two proposals as the most politically feasible and least controversial: retailer reduction, which, in the words of one interviewee, represented a "long going out of business curve for the tobacco industry in California," and the tobacco free generation proposal, which could be framed as protecting youth while maintaining the status quo among current smokers. All interviewees agreed that the state legislature would be more inclined to act on one or more endgame proposals if similar action occurred at the local level first.

Endgame proposals that gradually eliminate tobacco sales are considered politically feasible by California policymakers. Action at the local level is likely a necessary pre-condition of state-level policymaking.

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