Regulating Tobacco

By Robert L. Rabin; Stephen D. Sugarman | Go to book overview

2
The Politics of Tobacco Regulation
in the United States
Robert A. Kagan & William P. Nelson

During the 1940s and 1950s, cigarette smoking rivaled baseball as America's national pastime. On motion picture screens, cigarettes were depicted as wholly desirable, smoked by the glamorous and sophisticated, by gritty GIs winning World War II, and tilting up at a jaunty angle from President Franklin Roosevelt's profile. In 1965, 52% of American adult men were cigarette smokers. Now, however, cigarettes are widely castigated as the nation's number one public health problem. Cigarette manufacturers have been besieged by multimillion and even multibillion dollar lawsuits; their shares trade at a record low price-earnings ratio (Norris 2000). In many cities, office workers who want a cigarette break are forced to huddle outside the building's doorway. In 1995, only 25% of American adults were smokers, and in many social circles, smoking is regarded as pathological.

This remarkable transformation is far from complete. Millions of Americans have not quit smoking, hundreds of thousands continue to die from lung cancer and other diseases each year, and teenagers still join the army of the addicted in disturbingly large numbers. Nevertheless, it seems clear that tobacco, once unchallenged, is now on the defensive, and few would bet that in 25 years the proportion of Americans who smoke cigarettes as we know them will be as high as it is today.

If we ask what accounts for this change, the most obvious answer would be the diffusion of scientifically based knowledge about tobacco's carcinogenic properties, a process that began in the 1950s and has since accelerated. Yet the diffusion of scientific findings tells us only part of the story. Thanks to global communications systems, knowledge about tobacco's hazards is

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Regulating Tobacco
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Contents vii
  • About the Contributors ix
  • Regulating Tobacco *
  • 1 - Perspectives on Policy: Introduction 3
  • 2 - The Politics of Tobacco Regulation in the United States 11
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 3 - Taxing Tobacco: The Impact of Tobacco Taxes on Cigarette Smoking and Other Tobacco Use 39
  • References *
  • 4 - Marketing Policies 72
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 5 - Reducing Harm to Smokers: Methods, Their Effectiveness, and the Role of Policy 111
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 6 - Reducing the Supply of Tobacco to Youths 143
  • References *
  • 7 - The Third Wave of Tobacco Tort Litigation 176
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 8 - Clean Indoor Air Restrictions: Progress and Promise 207
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • 9 - International Aspects of Tobacco Control and the Proposed Who Treaty 245
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Index 285
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