Unfiltered: Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health

Unfiltered: Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health

Unfiltered: Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health

Unfiltered: Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health


Tobacco, among the most popular consumer products of the twentieth century, is under attack. Once a behavior that knew no social bounds, cigarette smoking has been transformed into an activity that reflects sharp differences in social status.

Unfiltered tells the story of how anti-smoking advocates, public health professionals, bureaucrats, and tobacco corporations have clashed over smoking regulation. The nations discussed in this book--Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States--restrict tobacco advertising, tax tobacco products, and limit where smoking is permitted. Each is also struggling to shape a tobacco policy that ensures corporate accountability, protects individual liberty, and asserts the state's public health power.

Unfiltered offers a comparative perspective on legal, political, and social conflicts over tobacco control. The book makes a unique contribution to our understanding of how scientific evidence, global health advocacy, individual risk assessments, and governmental interests intersect in the crafting of tobacco policy. It features national case studies and cross-cultural essays by experts in health policy, law, political science, history, and sociology. The lessons in Unfiltered are crucial to all who seek to understand and influence tobacco policy and reduce tobacco-related mortality worldwide.


In the 1950s, scientists began to demonstrate that smoking caused cancer, heart disease, and other health problems and was responsible for millions of premature deaths. Although these findings have become orthodoxy, their policy implications have been relentlessly challenged. Powerful corporate entities have fought aggressively against regulations that would limit the tobacco industry’s freedom to market its products. Governments have protected domestic tobacco cultivation and production because of their fiscal and political importance. The industry’s key constituency, hundreds of millions of cigarette smokers for whom smoking was a pleasure, a habit, an addiction, and a health hazard, has defended the right to smoke. Nevertheless, by the close of the twentieth century, anti-tobacco advocates, public health officials, physicians’ groups, and international organizations, separately and in concert, had succeeded in putting tobacco control on the policy agenda of every industrialized democracy. In place of political timidity there emerged a commitment to policies that affect the conduct of the tobacco industry and individual tobacco consumption, and that have major consequences for society, politics, and public health.

The essays in this volume provide a context for understanding tobacco policy in the United States and other industrialized nations. Unfiltered by preconceived assumptions, ideology, or preordained conclusions, we explore the roots and implications of the new international enthusiasm for increasingly restrictive tobacco regulation. Eight national case studies—the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, and Denmark—plus three cross-national essays, provide rich descriptions . . .

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