What impact have tobacco control policies, cigarette price and tobacco control programme funding had on Australian adolescents' smoking? Findings over a 15-year period


Victoria White, Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, Cancer Control Research Institute, The Cancer Council Victoria, 1 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia. E-mail: vicki.white@cancervic.org.au


Aims  To assess the impact of tobacco control policies relating to youth access, clean indoor air and tobacco advertising at point-of-sale and outdoors, in addition to cigarette price and per capita tobacco control spending, on adolescent smoking prevalence.

Design  Repeated cross-sectional surveys. Logistic regression analyses examined association between policies and smoking prevalence.

Setting  Australia, 1990–2005.

Participants  A nationally representative sample of secondary students (aged 12–17 years) participating in a triennial survey (sample size per survey range: 20 560 to 27 480).

Measurements  Students' report of past-month smoking. In each jurisdiction, extent of implementation of the three policies for the year of the survey was determined. For each survey year, national per capita tobacco control spending was determined and jurisdiction-specific 12-month change in cigarette price obtained.

Findings  Extent of implementation of the three policy areas varied between states and over the survey years. Multivariate analyses that adjusted for demographic factors, year and all tobacco control variables showed that 12-month cigarette price increases [odds ratio (OR): 0.98, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97–0.99], greater per capita tobacco control spending (OR: 0.99, 95% CI: 0.98–0.99) and stronger implementation of clean indoor air policies (OR: 0.93, 95% CI: 0.92–0.94) were associated with reduced smoking prevalence.

Conclusions  Adult-directed, population-based tobacco control policies such as clean indoor air laws and increased prices of cigarettes, implemented as part of a well-funded comprehensive tobacco control programme are associated with lower adolescent smoking.