A National Approach for Reducing Access to Tobacco in Australia by Young People under 18 Years of Age

4. Evaluation framework

Evaluation framework - A National Approach for Reducing Access to Tobacco in Australia by Young People under 18 Years of Age

Page last updated: 26 April 2012

4.1.1 Monitoring the National Approach

The National Approach recommends that the National Tobacco Strategy and the National Expert Advisory Committee on Tobacco should monitor jurisdictional activity in terms of the adoption and implementation of the National Approach best practice recommendations. The following framework has been designed therefore to incorporate this recommended approach to the monitoring of the National Approach:

4.1.2 The Australian School Students’ Alcohol and Drugs (ASSAD) Survey

Important indicators of the achievements of the National Approach are regular measurements of:
  • youth smoking rates;
  • youth access to tobacco products through illegal tobacco sales and supply;
  • the sources of cigarettes supplied to young people;
  • the number of cigarettes smoked; and
  • the number of sales through vending machines.
The Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer conducts surveys of school students from all Australian States and Territories in Years 7–12 every three years. The ASSAD Survey provides an opportunity to monitor the issues, behaviours and attitudes outlined above relating to the use of and access to tobacco products and therefore provides an excellent tool for monitoring the impact of the National Approach and the adoption of best practice recommendations by jurisdictions in Australia.

A report on the 1999 Survey will be available shortly. The next survey will be conducted in 2002 and therefore should provide the National Tobacco Strategy and the National Expert Advisory Committee on Tobacco with a valuable tool for monitoring the progress of the National Approach.

4.1.3 State and Territory annual reports

As part of the evaluation program of the National Tobacco Strategy an annual reporting mechanism for State and Territory governments in terms of monitoring the development of Action Plans has been proposed. It is proposed that the evaluation of the National Approach should therefore be incorporated into the evaluation process of the National Tobacco Strategy. The evaluation framework for the National Approach includes annual reporting from jurisdictions of the following:
  • the progress of the implementation of specific initiatives in terms of the timelines provided in the National Approach;
  • compliance monitoring surveys undertaken to assess illegal selling rates in each jurisdiction;
  • prosecutory action taken by States and Territories in terms of addressing illegal cigarette sales to young people; and
  • other evaluation programs such as representative population surveys and qualitative research programs.
The National Approach identified a range of research studies that have been conducted in Australia that have assisted in informing governments of the community’s opinion about specific issues relating to young people’s access to cigarettes.

Population surveys provide a useful measurement of the public’s opinion about specific issues such as the inclusion of mandatory checking proof of age in legislative programs, the imposition of penalties on retailers who break the law, the allocation of government spending on revenue from illegal tobacco sales to children and the use of young people in compliance monitoring activities.

As well, the National Approach identified the trend in the supply of cigarettes to young people from non retail outlets and in particular, the supply of cigarettes from friends and family members. Reports on qualitative research programs will assist in the monitoring of the National Approach and its impact on the supply of tobacco to young people from non retail outlets and contribute to the design of future communication and education strategies.

4.1.4 Long-term measures

The National Approach recognises that sales to minors programs are only one component of a
comprehensive approach to reducing youth smoking. The implementation of mutually supportive interventions that target both the demand and supply for tobacco products by young people are needed to reduce tobacco use.

The evaluation of the effectiveness of the range of strategies employed for the purpose of reducing youth smoking rates is therefore a critical long-term outcome.