Intended for healthcare professionals

Education And Debate

Recent Advances: Tobacco control

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 13 July 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:97
  1. Simon Chapman, associate professora
  1. a Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Sydney, Sydney 2006, Australia


    Summary points

    • With one billion smokers consuming 6.05 trillion cigarettes annually, successful tobacco control strategies must have the potential to reduce such numbers substantially

    • Reactions of the tobacco industry to control strategies serve as a litmus test of potential effectiveness

    • Tobacco products have a price elasticity of −0.5 (a 10% rise in price causes a 5% fall in demand). Taxing tobacco is a low cost strategy with great potential to reduce consumption among smokers in low socioeconomic groups and in developing countries

    • The efforts of the United States' Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco as a drug delivery device promise to revolutionise government approaches to tobacco

    • Evidence now exists that children are the most responsive market segment to tobacco advertising

    • Banning smoking at work can reduce daily smoking in continuing smokers by 25%—an unprecedented degree of impact * Harm reduction policies are likely to become hotly debated in nations where the decline in smoking has stalled

    • Legal actions against the tobacco industry by state governments in the United States have begun to rend cracks in the hitherto impenetrable wall of defence by the tobacco industry

    • Active monitoring and prosecution of shops that sell tobacco to children can dramatically reduce sales to children, but further research is needed on whether these actions reduce tobacco use by children


    • Funding No specific funding.

    • Conflict of interest None.

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