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This paper discusses the purpose of the research article “Multiple Streams Approach to Tobacco Control Policymaking in a Tobacco-Growing State” by Hadii M. Mamudu, Sumati Dadkar, Sreenivas P. Veeranki, Yi He, Richard Barnes, and Stanton A. Glantz. In addition, it discusses the actions that led to the opening of a policy window in which Smokefree Policy could be introduced to Tennessee, discusses the methods used in the study “Multiple Streams Approach to Tobacco Control Policymaking in a Tobacco-Growing State”, and finally the actors in the iron triangle of tobacco in Tennessee.
The purpose of this research is to examine the policy process through which Tennessee passed the Non-Smoker Protection Act. The passage of such an act was significant because Tennessee was one of the first tobacco-producing states in the country to adopt any serious sort of smoke-free policy (SFP), and because it happened relatively quickly. When Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen announced his support for SFP in 2006, groups such as CHART, the Campaign for Healthy and Responsible Tennessee, pushed for SFP legislature in Tennessee, and put pressure on the governor to act on the overwhelming public support for such legislation.
Some of the actions that led to the opening of the policy window that allowed for SFP to be passed in Tennessee were the governor coming out in support of SFP. As the primary policy creator in the state of Tennessee, the governor’s endorsement of SFP created wide support among the lower levels of statewide policy making. Another important action that led to the opening of the policy window was CHART’s decision to pressure the governor into increasing his support for SFP, and especially its decision to publicly announce that its meeting with the governor’s senior policy advisor, Robert Gowan, would end with Gowan bringing the issue directly to the governor. Another action of CHART that led to the policy change was the survey conducted by the American Cancer Society, which showed overwhelming support for SFP in Tennessee. The Tennessee Restaurant Association’s entrance into the Smokefree Tennessee Coalition and its support of the Tennessee Smokefree Air Law, in addition to mounting public support of SFP, were also important events that contributed to the opening of the policy window. Lastly, the changing public perception of tobacco use, falling dependency on tobacco products, and voluntary introductions of SFP by individual businesses all contributed to said policy window.
The main method used in this study was the Multiple-Streams Theory, which was used to explain how exactly the policy window that allowed for SFP to be passed in Tennessee was opened. Other methods used in the study were to overlap information obtained through interviews and recorded legislative discussions pertaining to the introduction and passage of SFP, specifically using grounded theory methodology.
The actors in the iron triangle of tobacco in Tennessee were tobacco interests, including the Big Tobacco lobby and the dominant tobacco-growing families of the state; agriculture committees in the legislature, and the Department of Agriculture. Originally, the tobacco interests in the state were a fearsome force to take on in the quest for SFP; however, the inability of the two biggest players in the tobacco industry of Tennessee to find common ground as well as their staunch opposition to SFP caused the governor to keep them out of negotiations and policy creation.
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