We identified policies that may be effective in reducing smoking among socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, and examined trends in their level of application between 1985 and 2000 in six western-European countries (Sweden, Finland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, and Spain). We located studies from literature searches in major databases, and acquired policy data from international data banks and questionnaires distributed to tobacco policy organisations/researchers. Advertising bans, smoking bans in workplaces, removing barriers to smoking cessation therapies, and increasing the cost of cigarettes have the potential to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in smoking. Between 1985 and 2000, tobacco control policies in most countries have become more targeted to decrease the smoking behaviour of low-socioeconomic groups. Despite this, many national tobacco-control strategies in western-European countries still fall short of a comprehensive policy approach to addressing smoking inequalities.