Kentucky legislators' views on tobacco policy

Ellen J. Hahn, Christopher P. Toumey, Mary Kay Rayens, Carrie A. McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Context: Kentucky leads the nation in adult and teen smoking prevalence. Even though Kentucky is one of the most tobacco-dependent states, tobacco policy is subject to change in light of possible national tobacco legislation. Objective: To describe the degree of agreement among Kentucky legislators regarding tobacco control and tobacco farming policy, and to discover whether use of the policy Delphi method produces a shift toward consensus on tobacco policy. Design: A two-round policy Delphi study was conducted using in-person interviews. Setting: Legislators' offices in Frankfort, Kentucky. Participants: Volunteer sample of 116 Kentucky legislators (84% response rate). Main Outcome Measures: Degree of agreement on tobacco control and tobacco farming policies. Results: Lawmakers were highly supportive of policies to lessen the state's dependence on tobacco, and were favorable toward stronger tobacco control policies. There were discrepancies, however, between what policies legislators thought were desirable and what policies were realistic. Tobacco interests were identified as possible explanations for this disparity. Tobacco allotment ownership was associated with less support for tobacco control and tobacco farming policies. A shift toward consensus on tobacco policy was achieved in the second round for 45% of the interview items common to both rounds. Conclusions: Kentucky legislators were highly supportive of reducing the state's dependence on tobacco and more supportive of tobacco control policies than expected. The policy Delphi method has the potential for shifting opinions about tobacco policies among state legislators. The findings of this study identify opportunities for public health policy change in one of the most tobacco-dependent states in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-88
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are grateful to numerous leaders in Kentucky’s health and agricultural communities for their guidance on this project. Many people in the leadership of the Kentucky General Assembly, both Democrat and Republican, helped make this study possible. Financial support was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Smokeless States Project through a contract with the American Lung Association of Kentucky. The authors wish to thank Drs. Lynne Hall, Margaret Grier, and Joanne Ries for editing the manuscript. The authors are solely responsible for the information and interpretations reported in this article.


  • Delphi technique
  • Health policy
  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco industry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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