National Tobacco Strategy 2012-2018: Draft for consultation
5.6 Building the evidence base for tobacco control
There is overwhelming evidence about the harms of tobacco. There is also an extensive body of evidence on effective interventions to reduce tobacco related harm and reduce smoking rates. Over the past 40 years, Australian researchers have been strong contributors to strengthening this evidence base.
The approach to tobacco control is underpinned by our commitment to evidence based policy. Where the evidence does not yet exist on the most effective interventions, we will be guided by the best available information, and ensure that robust evaluation contributes to the future evidence base.
Comprehensive monitoring and surveillance systems are an essential element of this draft Strategy. They enable us to monitor our progress and determine whether we are achieving our specified targets over time.22 Ensuring the tobacco control workforce is able to access the latest evidence and knowledge about tobacco control policies and issues is a priority. Australia is fortunate to have a comprehensive and up to date resource on tobacco control evidence and policies available on line free of charge – Tobacco in Australia: Facts and Issues.9
The priority areas and actions in this draft Strategy are underpinned by strong interdisciplinary research and evaluation capacity.22 Knowledge gaps have been identified by the National Preventative Health Taskforce Report, particularly in relation to evidence based interventions in Indigenous and other disadvantaged populations.22 Addressing this gap is a priority.
There is also a need to evaluate the impact of new policies such as the world’s first plain packaging laws and disseminate findings to our international partners. Many organisations will be involved in evaluating the effectiveness of these policies at the state and territory and national level. The Australian National Preventative Health Agency will play a key role in co-ordinating and monitoring these efforts and disseminating the results.