The case against a smoker's license

PLoS Med. 2012;9(11):e1001343. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001343. Epub 2012 Nov 13.


Tobacco continues to kill millions of people around the world each year and its use is increasing in some countries, which makes the need for new, creative, and radical efforts to achieve the tobacco control endgame vitally important. One such effort is discussed in this PLOS Medicine Debate, where Simon Chapman presents his proposal for a "smoker's license" and Jeff Collin argues against. Chapman sets out a case for introducing a smart card license for smokers designed to limit access to tobacco products and encourage cessation. Key elements of the smoker's license include smokers setting daily limits, financial incentives for permanent license surrender, and a test of health risk knowledge for commencing smokers. Collin argues against the proposal, saying that it would shift focus away from the real vector of the epidemic--the tobacco industry--and that by focusing on individuals it would censure victims, increase stigmatization of smokers, and marginalize the poor.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Government Regulation
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Licensure / economics
  • Licensure / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Licensure / standards*
  • Smoking Cessation / economics
  • Smoking Cessation / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Smoking Cessation / methods*
  • Smoking Cessation / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Industry / economics
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Tobacco Industry / standards