Measuring support for tobacco control policy in selected areas of six countries

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Objective - To explore the validity, reliability, and applicability of using a short, psychometrically sound survey instrument to measure population attitudes toward tobacco control policies. Design - Surveys. Subjects and setting - Student respondents attending university in Australia (n = 403), Hong Kong (n = 336), the Netherlands (n = 351), South Africa (n = 291), the United Kingdom (n = 164) and the United States (n = 241); total n = 1786. Main outcome measure - The Smoking Policy Inventory (SPI), a 35-item scale. SPI scores were adjusted for age, income, gender, and smoking status. Estimates of internal consistency and tests of factorial invariance were conducted in each sample. Results - Across all six countries, the SPI was found to be highly reliable and to have a consistent factor structure, indicating that the SPI scale represents a higher order construct that assesses general attitudes about tobacco control policy with five dimensions. In general, the degree of endorsement of anti-tobacco policies as measured by the SPI reflected the extent and strength of tobacco control legislation in those countries. Dutch students were the least likely, and Australian and Hong Kong students the most likely, to support tobacco control policies. Conclusions - It is possible to develop appropriate and meaningful measurement tools for assessing support of tobacco control policies. Strong evidence was found for internal reliability and structural invariance of the SPI. The SPI may be a useful mechanism for monitoring ongoing policy initiatives, making cross-cultural comparisons, and evaluating population receptiveness to proposed policy approaches.

Publication Title

Tobacco Control