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Evolution of a comprehensive tobacco control programme: building system capacity and strategic partnerships—lessons from Massachusetts
  1. Harriet Robbins,
  2. Milly Krakow
  1. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  1. Harriet Robbins, EdM, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program, 250 Washington Street, 4th Floor, Boston, MA 02108-4619, USA; Harriet.Robbins{at}


BACKGROUND Since the passage of a voter approved state referendum in 1992 to establish a 25 cent increase on the excise tax on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, Massachusetts has received an average of $40 million annually for its tobacco control programme. This funding allowed Massachusetts to expand and develop its tobacco control programme to become one of the most comprehensive in the world.

OBJECTIVES The development of the Massachusetts Tobacco Control Program is outlined, focusing on three stages of development: formation, strategic partnership building, and shared leadership.

METHODS The development of management structures, programmatic infrastructure, communication and partnership networks, and advisory structures are tracked throughout the three phases.

RESULTS The use of pre-existing public health resources, implementation of a strong training component, a geographical management structure, the creation of public and private partnerships, and the development of a shared leadership model contributed to building consensus and provided the foundation for coordinated approaches to tobacco control.

CONCLUSION Other states and countries can use lessons learned from Massachusetts about the organisational development of a comprehensive tobacco control programme as they embark upon similar efforts.

  • Massachusetts
  • infrastructure
  • system development
  • tobacco control programme

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