The economics of global tobacco controlBMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7257.358 (Published 05 August 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:358
All rapid responses
I enjoyed reading the article however I would like to briefly consider a few of the points mentioned in this piece. Firstly, I would like to consider regulatory policies used to reduce demand. Secondly, I will consider the measures to reduce tobacco that were discussed in the paper.
Regulatory policies are a great method to reduce demand for cigarette smoking. Clean indoor air policies have made it virtually socially unacceptable to smoke indoors. As a result of these policies smoking has fallen in the last few years. As a member of a highly democratic and individualized society, I must consider the possibility that these policies will be limited in the future. Although these policies have caused a reduction in smoking, American adults retain their right to freely use this product. When the laws become too “invasive” persons are likely to protest, lobby, and fund politicians in an effort to maintain their right to smoke when and where they please. This potential group will have enormous funding from companies that wish to keep their consumer base. This intervention may be effective but it exist at the whim of American voters and tax payers. I feel that if regulatory policies are in place for cigarette smoking the must be insulated from politics.
Secondly, I would like to consider the measure of reducing the supply of tobacco. This method will not reduce use if restricted to one country. As indicated in the article, persons will simply buy the cigarettes in one country and sell them in another. A major necessity in reducing the supply of tobacco is the coordination of surrounding countries. Cigarette use tends to be very high in low and middle income countries. It is likely that these persons do not have the means to consistently travel internationally. If cigarettes are not available in their country or surrounding countries cigarette use is likely to decline.
Regulatory policies, while effective, will eventually change as a result of politics in democratic countries. These policies must be shielded from politics if public health is to prevail. Reduction of tobacco will not reduce the prevalence of smoking unless surrounding countries coordinate to reduce tobacco usage. This will make the drug harder to obtain and will likely reduce use of the product.
Competing interests: No competing interests