Monitoring Tobacco Control Outcomes: The Unintended Consequences of Target Selection

We explore key lessons arising out of target-setting agendas in tobacco control. Two real-world examples are described that illustrate the pitfalls of choosing an omnibus target for a comprehensive strategy: (a) a target to reduce wholesale cigarette sales in Ontario and (b) a First Ministers' target to reduce current smoking. Changing contexts brought about by shifts in illicit tobacco sales made it problematic to interpret success in both cases.