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BACKGROUND—In 1994, Arizona voters approved Proposition 200 which increased the tobacco tax and earmarked 23% of the new revenues for tobacco education programmes.
OBJECTIVE—To describe the campaign to pass Proposition 200, the legislative debate that followed the passage of the initiative, and the development and implementation of the tobacco control programme.
DESIGN—This is a case study. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with key players in the initiative campaign and in the tobacco education programme, and written records (campaign material, newspapers, memoranda, public records).
RESULTS—Despite opposition from the tobacco industry, Arizonans approved an increase in the tobacco tax. At the legislature, health advocates in Arizona successfully fought the tobacco industry attempts to divert the health education funds and pass preemptive legislation. The executive branch limited the scope of the programme to adolescents and pregnant women. It also prevented the programme from attacking the tobacco industry or focusing on secondhand smoke. Health advocates did not put enough pressure at the executive branch to force it to develop a comprehensive tobacco education programme.
CONCLUSIONS—It is not enough for health advocates to campaign for an increase in tobacco tax and to protect the funds at the legislature. Tobacco control advocates must closely monitor the development and implementation of tax-funded tobacco education programmes at the administrative level and be willing to press the executive to implement effective programmes.
Keywords: tobacco tax; health education; advocacy