Welcome to Addressing Tobacco Pricing Policies: A Toolkit for Tobacco Control Program Managers. The purpose of this toolkit is to address the needs of tobacco control program professionals in state health departments who are working to reduce tobacco use by raising the cost of tobacco products. The evidence is clear: tobacco products’ price increases result in lower consumption, especially among youth and those demographic groups with high tobacco use prevalence.
Why New Tools?
Over the last decade, policies to maximize the impact of price increases have become better defined and easier to implement. Yet many challenges remain for program managers who want to contribute significantly to the policy debate by raising awareness of the public health benefits of raising the price of tobacco products. This guide provides new tools to support program managers’ ability to promote and sustain social norm changes through pricing strategies, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations.
Key to Success: Raise Awareness
While understanding that policy change is the most cost-efficient population-wide approach to reducing tobacco use, many program managers struggle with how to raise the profile of tobacco-related policy, both internally and with their external partners. Each of the 50 states, US territories, and the District of Columbia has its own unique political culture and environment. Each state and territorial health department has its own rules for how and when staff is authorized to work on policy issues in general and tobacco policy issues in particular. Some tobacco control program managers report directly to the top agency official—most likely the Commissioner of Health or Health Director—and others have several layers of agency managers on the way to the top.
How to Apply the Tools
There are many ways to apply these tools. One approach for tobacco control program managers might be to begin with relatively small accomplishments that can result in larger victories over time. An example of a small accomplishment is increasing awareness internally in a health department, and raising the profile of cigarette and other tobacco product excise tax health benefits.
That victory may be followed by a press release from the agency when a CDC-published Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) is released on a price-related tobacco topic. While these may seem like minor successes, they can add up to become a factor in the policy debate and eventually the policy decisions. Addressing Tobacco Pricing Policies: A Toolkit for Tobacco Control Program Managers was developed to help tobacco control program managers become involved in shaping pricing policy interventions in their states. The kit contains five tools that help put the principles of effective tobacco pricing strategies into practice. They are:
Each tool provides practical information and applications for tobacco control program managers to become experts in, and better proponents of, pricing strategies that are appropriate for their state. With careful research, planning, communications, and outreach, all tobacco control programs can play a meaningful role in strengthening tobacco-related pricing policy.