239055 Enacting Tobacco Control Policies: Do Behavioral Science Theories Help Explain Legislators' Voting Behavior?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gregory Tung, MPH , Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Jon S. Vernick, JD, MPH , Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Andrea C. Gielen, ScD, ScM , Department of Health, Behavior & Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Erin Reiney, MPH, CHES , Injury and Violence Prevention Programs, HRSA/Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Rockville, MD
Introduction: Legislator voting behavior is important to public health. We systematically review existing research to explore the use of behavioral science theories to better understand the voting behavior of legislators related to tobacco control issues. Research Question: Do behavioral science theories such as the Theory of Planned Behavior provide useful insights into legislator voting behavior? Methods: We identified relevant tobacco control research in online databases and identified studies that examined determinants of legislator voting behavior in a public health context. To be included, studies had to be: 1) focused on tobacco-related voting behavior; 2), empirically-based; 3) based in a democracy; 4) in English; and 5) identify specific determinants of voting practices. Results: 12 articles met our inclusion criteria. Four papers were specifically grounded in behavioral science theory. These articles all used the Theory of Planned Behavior and the theory's core constructs of attitude, social norms, and perceived behavioral control. Determinants examined by the 8 papers not explicitly grounded in behavior science theory also fit well with the core constructs of the Theory of Planned Behavior. Legislators who believed that government has a role in influencing smoking behavior, believed that smoking was a serious health problem, and perceived normative pressure from constituents or other policy makers were more likely to support tobacco control measures. Conclusion: Behavioral science theories such as the Theory of Planned Behavior can be used to understand legislator voting behavior and may be useful to health advocates in the advancement of tobacco control and other health policies.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how behavioral science theories have been used to understand the voting behavior of legislators within a tobacco control context. Discuss how advocates might use behavioral science theories to influence legislative voting behavior and advance tobacco control policies.

Keywords: Tobacco Policy, Behavioral Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I think I am qualified to present because I (1) worked for two years as policy researcher at the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF, (2) am a PhD student at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and (3) am working jointly on this project with Professors Jon Vernick (policy expert) and Andrea Gielen (behavioral science expert).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.