Tapping Into Multiple Data “Springs” to Strengthen Policy Streams: A Guide to the Types of Data Needed to Formulate Local Retail Tobacco Control Policy


In 2015, the tobacco industry spent $8.24 billion to market tobacco products in convenience stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other retail or point-of-sale settings. Community tobacco control partnerships have numerous evidence-based policies (eg, tobacco retailer licensing and compliance, tobacco-free–school buffer zones, eliminating price discounts) to counter point-of-sale tobacco marketing. However, deciding which point-of-sale policies to implement — and when and in what order to implement them — is challenging. The objective of this article was to describe tools and other resources that local-level tobacco use prevention and control leaders can use to assemble the data they need to formulate point-of-sale tobacco policies that fit the needs of their communities, have potential for public health impact, and are feasible in the local policy environment. We were guided by Kingdon’s theory of policy change, which contends that windows of policy opportunity open when 3 streams align: a clear problem, a solution to the problem, and the political will to work for change. Community partnerships can draw on 7 data “springs” to activate Kingdon’s streams: 1) epidemiologic and surveillance data, 2) macro retail environment data, 3) micro retail environment data, 4) the current policy context, 5) local legal feasibility of policy options, 6) the potential for public health impact, and 7) political will.


Citation: Myers, A. E., Knocke, K., & Leeman, J. (2019). Tapping into multiple data “springs” to strengthen policy streams: A guide to the types of data needed to formulate retail tobacco control policy. Prev Chronic Dis, 16(E43), 1-9. doi: 10.5888/pcd16.180282

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