Objective: This study assessed whether dramatic funding reductions to the Florida Tobacco Control Program (FTCP) influenced trends in recall of the Florida “truth” anti-smoking media campaign, anti-industry attitudes and non-smoking intentions among Florida teens.
Methods: We used an interrupted time series technique to test for differences in the rates of change in Florida “truth” recall, anti-industry beliefs and non-smoking intentions before and after the FTCP budget cuts using the Florida Anti-tobacco Media Evaluation (FAME) survey, a repeated cross-sectional telephone survey of Florida teens.
Results: Recall of the Florida “truth” anti-smoking campaign, anti-industry attitudes, and non-smoking intentions increased dramatically between April 1998 and May 1999. Florida “truth” recall declined after FTCP budget cuts in June 1999. Anti-industry beliefs and non-smoking intentions plateaued or began to decline after the budget cuts. The launch of the national “truth” campaign in February 2000 may have offset otherwise deleterious effects of the budget cuts on anti-industry beliefs, but not smoking intentions.
Conclusion: Reductions in tobacco control funding have immediate effects on programme exposure and cognitive precursors to smoking initiation. There is a critical need to maintain and enhance funding for state tobacco control programmes to continue nationwide progress in preventing youth from initiating cigarette smoking.
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Funding: We would like to thank Debra Bodenstine and the Florida Department of Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Substance Abuse Policy Research program (Grant 51529) and RWJF Health & Society Scholars programme for providing financial support for the study.
Competing interests: None.