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Article | Testing policy evaluation methods for smoke-free outdoor area policies


We aimed to test evaluation methods for smoke-free outdoor area policies using a long-term evaluation of a smoke-free parks and playgrounds policy as a case study. We documented the results and an appraisal of a multifaceted evaluation (playground and sports field user surveys, observations, butt collections and key stakeholder in-depth interviews) of a New Zealand local council’s smoke-free policy in 2011. We also drew upon previous evaluations completed before (2008) and immediately after (2009) the implementation of the policy.

Butt collection was a particularly efficient method of data collection due to the in-field data time (five hours) compared with observations (31 hours) or surveys (46 hours). Surveys and key stakeholder interviews yielded important information to inform effective recommendations to best promote the policy. We ensured effective replicable and accurate data could be collected by training and supervising volunteers for data collection, and documenting all methods. Each method we tested helped us to evaluate the impact of the policy, but not all methods were resource efficient.


Toledo Cortés, L., Thomson, G., Edwards, R. (2014) Testing policy evaluation methods for smokefree outdoor area policies. Evaluation Journal of Australasia 2014: Vol. 14, No. 1: 35-42

For more information, please contact:

George Thomson
University of Otago, Wellington

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