Objective-To identify, from policy makers' perspectives, strategies that en
hance tobacco control advocates' effectiveness in the regulatory arena.
Design-Key informant interview component of a comparative case study of reg
ulatory agencies in the USA.
Subjects-Policy makers involved in the development of four regulatory tobac
co control policies (three state and one federal).
Methods-Interviews of policy makers, field notes, and deliberation minutes
were coded inductively.
Results-Policy makers considered both written commentary and public testimo
ny when developing tobacco control regulations. They triaged written commen
tary based upon whether the document was from a peer reviewed journal, a su
mmary of research evidence, or from a source considered credible. They cope
d with in-person testimony by avoiding being diverted from the scientific e
vidence, and by assessing the presenters' credibility. Policy makers sugges
ted that tobacco control advocates should: present science in a format that
is well organised and easily absorbed; engage scientific experts to partic
ipate in the regulatory process; and lobby to support the tobacco control e
fforts of the regulatory agency.
Conclusions-There is an important role for tobacco control advocates in the
policy development process in regulatory agencies.