Successfully maintaining program funding during trying times: Lessons from tobacco control programs in five states

David E. Nelson, Jennifer H. Reynolds, Douglas A. Luke, Nancy B. Mueller, Monica H. Eischen, Jerelyn Jordan, R. Brick Lancaster, Stephen E. Marcus, Donna Vallone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Despite negative financial conditions in recent years, several states were able to successfully maintain funding for tobacco prevention and control, which provided an opportunity to understand the factors associated with success. One explanation may be the level of long-term program sustainability in some states. According to a model developed by Saint Louis University researchers, the five elements critical to tobacco control sustainability are state political and financial climate; community awareness and capacity; program structure and administration; funding stability and planning; and surveillance and evaluation. Five states (Nebraska, New York, Indiana, Virginia, and Colorado) maintained funding for their tobacco control programs. Four of these states gained additional legislative appropriations or prevented a massive reduction; Colorado used a statewide ballot initiative to increase funding. On the basis of the sustainability framework, case studies, and prior research, the major lessons learned for maintaining funding were the importance of (1) strong and experienced leadership, (2) broad and deep organizational and community ties, (3) coordinated efforts, (4) strategic use of surveillance and evaluation data, (5) active dissemination of information about program successes, and (6) policy maker champions. The sustainability framework and lessons learned may provide valuable insights for other public health programs facing funding threats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)612-620
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Public Health Management and Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Health Promotion
  • Public Health
  • Tobacco

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy


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