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Am J Public Health. 2006 Mar;96(3):494-8. Epub 2006 Jan 31.

Simulation modeling and tobacco control: creating more robust public health policies.

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Although previous empirical studies have shown that tobacco control policies are effective at reducing smoking rates, such studies have proven of limited effectiveness in distinguishing how the effect of policies depend on the other policies in place, the length of adjustment period, the way the policy is implemented, and the demographic groups considered. An alternative and complementary approach to purely statistical equations is simulation models. We describe the SimSmoke simulation model and how we used it to assess tobacco control policy in a specific case study. Simulation models are not only useful for policy prediction and planning but also may help to broaden our understanding of the role of different public health policies within a complex, dynamic social system.

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