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Tobacco Control Strategies: Past Efficacy and Future Promise


Publication Date: 
November 01, 2008
Journal Article
Bibliography: Robert L. Rabin, Tobacco Control Strategies: Past Efficacy and Future Promise, 41 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 1721 (Summer 2008).


The public health impact of smoking remains as prominent as ever. At present, over 400,000 premature deaths - far and away the highest tally for any product or substance on the market - are attributable to smoking. And, per capita use and trend rates suggest no reason for relaxed regulatory scrutiny. In this article, I offer a view of past efficacy and future promise of tobacco control strategies. After a brief treatment of the demographics of smoking, indicating the distance that has been covered in reducing tobacco use, I discuss the main factors contributing to that partial success story; in particular, informational initiatives, clean air regulations, and taxation. Then, I address the strategies that, to my mind, have been somewhat less successful: litigation and advertising controls. Finally, I comment on the array of public health initiatives that might sensibly be considered at this point in time, with particular emphasis on reducing the prevalence of youth smoking.