Intended for healthcare professionals


A smoke-free generation?

BMJ 2017; 358 doi: (Published 19 September 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;358:j3944
  1. John Britton, director
  1. UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  1. j.britton{at}

Unlikely, thanks to complacency, naivety, and impotence in the face of big tobacco

In 1854, John Snow carried out a study of the Broad Street cholera epidemic that is now recognised as a classic of epidemiology and public health practice.1 In the same year, Philip Morris made his first cigarette.2 Today, cholera still occurs but is rare, while cigarettes represent the biggest preventable threat to global health.

The magnitude of that threat is laid out in the latest World Health Organization report on the global tobacco epidemic.3 The report estimates that tobacco use currently causes around seven million (or one in 10) global deaths each year and details progress implementing the six core tobacco control policies advocated under the MPOWER acronym (Monitor, Protect from smoke, Offer help to quit, Warn about dangers, Enforce bans, and Raise taxes).4 These policies are intended to discourage people from consuming tobacco, much as removing the handle of the Broad Street pump reduced access to contaminated drinking water,1 …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription