The Effects of Arkansas Master Settlement Spending on Disparities in Smoking

Published in: American Journal of Public Health, v. 201, no. 4, Apr. 2012, p. 732-738

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2011

by Hao Yu, Deborah M. Scharf, John Engberg, Dana Schultz

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OBJECTIVES: We assessed the effect of Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) spending on smoking disparities in Arkansas, which distinguished itself from other states by investing all of its MSA funds in health-related programs. METHODS: In 1996–2009 data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we specified multivariate logistic models to examine gender and racial/ethnic disparities in smoking rates within Arkansas (a pre–post analysis) and between Arkansas and its 6 neighboring states. RESULTS: Before the MSA programs started in 2001, male Arkansans smoked more than did female Arkansans (P < .05). After the programs, smoking declined significantly among men (but not women), eliminating the gender disparity by 2009. Smoking among men in Arkansas also declined more than it did in neighboring states (P < .05). Hispanics showed a greater decline in smoking than did non-Hispanic Whites in Arkansas (but not in neighboring states). In 2001, Hispanic Arkansans smoked more than did non-Hispanic Whites (P < .05); by 2009, Hispanic Arkansans smoked significantly less than did non-Hispanic Whites (P < .05). CONCLUSIONS: MSA-funded programs were more effective in some segments of the Arkansas population than in others. Policymakers should consider targeting future MSA tobacco control programs to populations most resistant to change.

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