Pertinent evidence to inform population interventions for chronic disease prevention is sparse. The use of common measures across multiple jurisdictions is a promising approach to study "natural experiments" that can dually advance research/knowledge development and evaluation/practice improvement for population intervention. Early experiences with provincial tobacco control strategies and North American quitlines reveal the importance of (a) sustained collaboration across research, evaluation, policy, and practice communities; (b) honouring different perspectives; and (c) stable institutional support for the creation and implementation of common measures. The promise of common measures will be better understood as mature examples of their use are explored.