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Bureaucratic barriers to evidence-based tobacco control policy: A Tasmanian case study


Barnsley, K and Walters, H and Wood-Baker, R, Bureaucratic barriers to evidence-based tobacco control policy: A Tasmanian case study, Universal Journal of Public Health, 3, (1) pp. 6-15. ISSN 2331-8880 (2015) [Refereed Article]


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The aim was to examine bureaucratic barriers to implementing strategies for tobacco control in Tasmania. We analysed documents provided by government agencies under Right to Information legislation; documents provided by non-government organisations (NGOs), newspaper reports, websites and Hansards relevant for the period 1997 to 2010. Responsible Tasmanian bureaucratic organisations have had a culture of avoiding responsibility for high smoking rates, their processes being excessively complex, under-resourced in expertise and funding for mass media campaigns, having poor accountability mechanisms, failed to adhere to international standards in dealings with the tobacco industry, failed to follow evidence-based public policy despite being aware of its existence, were distracted by immediate needs, experienced passive and active obstruction from other government agencies, and did not adequately inform the Parliament about measures which might reduce smoking rates. The operation and culture of the Tasmanian bureaucracy has been a significant barrier to evidence-based tobacco control public policy. This deficiency was not confined to the Department of Health and Human Services, but also included the Departments of Premier and Cabinet and Treasury. Major barriers to evidence-based tobacco control have existed within the bureaucratic systems in Tasmania in the period 1997 to 2010. They were excessively process-driven, complex structures, with lack of "evidence transfer", antipathetic in culture and had scant resources. Similar barriers exist in some other jurisdictions. All this served to undermine the effectiveness of public-health expert-driven action.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:bureaucracy, tobacco control, public policy, smoking, evidence transfer
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Health policy
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Barnsley, K (Dr Kathryn Barnsley)
UTAS Author:Walters, H (Professor Haydn Walters)
UTAS Author:Wood-Baker, R (Professor Richard Wood-Baker)
ID Code:97637
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Medicine
Deposited On:2015-01-06
Last Modified:2016-05-30
Downloads:291 View Download Statistics

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