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Keywords:

  • smoking cessation;
  • disadvantage;
  • health resource

Abstract

Introduction and Aims. Despite the persistent socioeconomic gradient associated with smoking, little is known about how to ‘close the gap’. There is a debate regarding the implications of directing resources away from general population efforts towards disadvantaged groups. The study explored views of those with expertise in tobacco control about the appropriate balance of tobacco control resourcing between the general population and disadvantaged groups.

Design and Methods. A Web-based survey of 192 respondents (response rate 65%) working in tobacco control in Australia and New Zealand was completed. Respondents were sampled from the Australian and New Zealand Tobacco Control Contact List and a literature search. Respondents were asked to allocate a hypothetical budget for: (a) anti-tobacco mass media campaigns; and (b) tobacco control research.

Results. The vast majority (93%) of respondents believed that some tobacco control resources should be specifically directed towards disadvantaged groups. Respondents believed up to half of mass media resources should be directed towards disadvantaged groups. In the case of tobacco control research, the median allocation to the general population was approximately one-third of a hypothetical research budget.

Discussion and Conclusions. It appears there is a desire among the Australian and New Zealand tobacco control community for substantial effort to be directed towards disadvantaged groups. It is important to develop an evidence base to ensure an efficient and equitable approach to balancing the potentially competing demands of general population versus disadvantaged group activities in relation to tobacco control.[Paul CL, Bonevski B, Turon HE, Bryant J. The balancing act: Experts' opinions about the relative resourcing of tobacco control efforts for the general population versus disadvantaged populations. Drug Alcohol Rev 2012;31:602–607]