142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Monitoring and targeting policy improvement utilizing a novel sub-county tobacco policy surveillance system

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014

Patricia Atwater, MPHc , Tobacco Studies Program, Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health, Seattle, WA
Laura Hitchcock, JD , Assessment, Policy Development & Evaluation Unit, Public Health-Seattle & King County, Seattle, WA
Many states are successful in curbing indoor smoking via state law, yet opportunities exist to further limit exposure via local policy. We designed a policy surveillance system focused on local parks and post-secondary institutions in Seattle King County.

Policies were collected from all 39 local cities, through online municipal codes or city officials. Public college policies were available online. 31/40 institutions were included; smaller institutions excluded with over-sampled in areas of tobacco disparities. Policy variables were identified, codebooks were developed and each policy was coded with inter-rater reliability analysis. Variables were selected for visual display and mapping.

We found variation among local policies in both datasets. While most post-secondary students are covered by some policy, a wide range of prohibitions exist. Few are 100% smoking free and significant exceptions exist. Nearly half of institutions have no policies. For parks, 12/39 cities had policies in 2013 (up from 5 in 2010). Five in South King County (highest disparities area) had no policies for parks or no policies for some. Four cities prohibited all smoking in 100% of parks in 2013 (up from 0 in 2010).

Although time and labor-intensive, rigorous policy surveillance methods are needed locally so that laws are written optimally and to discover/eliminate disparities. Significant room for improvement exists in tobacco policy across King County parks and post-secondary institutions; findings can shape/direct health department activities. Use of open source systems creates efficiencies for regular benchmarking of policy over time.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the process of creating policy surveillance system for local laws and policies. Describe the use of a policy surveillance system in improving local law and policy.

Keyword(s): Law, Local Public Health Agencies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a practice and academic background in policy, and have led advocacy work related to tobacco policy on college campuses. I have served on several tobacco-related research grants (private foundation) and currently manage an academic program on tobacco studies. I was the lead researcher on the King County study of parks' and college campuses' policy surveillance.
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.