An important aspect of any health-related program resides in its outcomes. Simply put, an "outcome" is a planned and deliberate effect of the program (MacDonald, et al., 2001, p. 31). Well-planned programs typically have short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes that ideally lead to achievement of the program's stated goals. A short-term outcome is typically an immediate effect of a program, usually focusing on the target population's desired gains in attitudes, knowledge and skills because of the program. Some examples of short-term outcomes for a tobacco control program might include: the public's greater awareness of the harms of environmental tobacco smoke; the public's greater understanding of valid reasons for bans on smoking in public places; and business owners' more positive reactions to smoking bans in places of business (MacDonald, et al., 2001, p. 32). An intermediate outcome normally involves a more established change in behavior, norms and policies. Some examples of intermediate outcomes for a tobacco control program are voluntary clean air policies and voluntary bans on smoking in public places (MacDonald, et al., 2001, p. 32). A long-term outcome is typically achieved over a period of years. Examples of long-term outcomes for a tobacco control program are: a decrease in the use of tobacco; a decrease in tobacco-related illness; and a decrease in tobacco-related deaths (MacDonald, et al., 2001, p. 32). Though tobacco control programs may differ in some specific approaches, their short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes are often similar or even identical.
The California Tobacco Control Program (CTCP) was established more than 20 years ago with the specific mission "to improve the health of all Californians by reducing illness and premature death attributable to the use of tobacco products" (California Department of Public Health, 2010, modified 10/31/2012). With that ambitious mission in mind, CTCP developed the core strategy of changing social norms (California Department of Public Health, n.d.) and long-term goals of: empowering health agencies to promote health and quality of life by giving leadership and research advocating the appropriate social norms creating a tobacco-free environment; halting illegal tobacco sales to California youth; combatting the aggressive marketing employed by the tobacco industry; assisting people in permanent smoking cessation programs (California Department of Public Health, n.d.). Given the ardent mission and long history of the CTCP, it has achieved numerous measurable short-term, intermediate and long-term outcomes, though the program has operated so successfully for such a long time that many of the cited outcomes are long-term.
The CTCP's measurable outcomes, whether short-term, intermediate or long-term, are so numerable that it they could not be listed in a short paper. However, several measurable outcomes are obvious. For example, through data collection and evaluation, researchers have found