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Qual Health Res. 2001 Sep;11(5):682-92.

Tobacco policy and the role of law enforcement in prevention: the value of understanding context.

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  • 1East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania, USA.


The Florida Office of Tobacco Control sponsors evaluations of the effect of its comprehensive youth tobacco prevention initiatives. As part of this evaluation, a quasi-experiment designed to assess the effect of law enforcement on youth tobacco use was conducted. An in-depth qualitative study was a critical component of this research. This study provided a rich description of the context in which law enforcement was implemented. Data collection involved interviews with judges, clerks of court, and selected officials in each of the study counties. Approximately 70 interviews were conducted. Extensive, ongoing computer-assisted analysis complemented the process. Several consistent themes emerged during the research that helped to give contextual meaning to the findings. These themes provided critical insights into the complexity of policies about youth tobacco possession, and the findings helped illuminate the varying contexts in which these interventions were applied.

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