Skip to main content

CDC: Evaluating Smoke-Free Policies


CDC: Evaluating Smoke-Free Policies (2008)

The CDC’s Evaluation Toolkit for Smoke-Free Policies (2008) is intended for use by state tobacco control program evaluation staff, national tobacco control partner organizations and other public health professionals on evaluating smoke-free policies and laws on a state or community level.

The toolkit provides general information and practical tools for selecting and conducting the studies that are best suited to each program’s needs and resources. The Toolkit is based on published studies and on the experiences of countries that have implemented or evaluated smoke-free laws.

When passing a smoke-free law, evaluation of the law’s impact is needed to identify effects, gaps or deficiencies in the law or its implementation. Evaluating the impact can help enhance public support for smoke-free laws in hospitality venues and other sites. Collection of baseline, pre-implementation data is an essential part of many commonly used evaluation studies. Baseline data is needed to demonstrate the need for a smoke-free law and to measure change after its implementation. Additionally, the results of the evaluation are useful in comparing effects in different sites.

The Toolkit describes five evaluation studies for outcomes that are generally examined when passing a smoke-free law:

  1. public support,
  2. compliance,
  3. air quality,
  4. employee health, and
  5. economic impact.

Public support and compliance studies can be applied to all public places, whereas air quality monitoring, employee health and economic impact are typically applicable to hospitality venues. Typically sites will not need to conduct all of these studies. The performed study should be able to provide information on the issues and concerns that generate the most public debate and discussion among decision makers, the media, the business community and the general public. After the implementation, the law’s effects are of particular interest. 

The workbook presents a set of main issues and questions that need to be taken into account when choosing among the evaluation studies. Based on this, the book provides technical step-to-step processes for selecting a suitable study to evaluate a given smoke-free policy. In addition, the workbook recommends selected peer-reviewed literature on all five types studies addressed in the publication.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Evaluation Toolkit for Smoke-Free Policies. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health; 2008.

Available at: