Editorials

Levelling the playing field for regulation of nicotine

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.326.7381.115 (Published 18 January 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:115

Existing laws in Britain offer a promising framework

  1. Ichiro Kawachi (Ichiro.Kawachi@channing.harvard.edu), professor of health and social behaviour
  1. Department of Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Avenue, Boston MA 02115, USA

    In a bold new report, the tobacco advisory group of the Royal College of Physicians of London has called for the establishment of a nicotine regulatory authority in the United Kingdom.1 Regulation of tobacco has not been a conspicuous success at the level of the European Union so far. The reason, as the report from the college points out, is that tobacco legislation at the European Union level has been preoccupied with the operation of a single market rather than with the protection of public health.1 Rather than wait for the European Union to get its act together, the British government should act now to establish a regulatory framework for tobacco and nicotine.

    Of all the possible alternative ways of obtaining nicotine, smoking cigarettes remains by far the most addictive. The reason is that smoking cigarettes maximises the rapidity, frequency, reliability, and ease of attainment of the reward from nicotine.2 Nicotine via cigarettes reaches the brain in 10 seconds, which is faster than via intravenous …

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