Curbing the tobacco epidemic: Employing behavioral strategies or rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic?

Prev Med. 2015 Apr;73:28-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.12.026. Epub 2015 Jan 5.


Henningfield brilliantly dissected the deadly comprehensive tactics of the tobacco industry but Food and Drug Administration and WHO strategies against the tobacco epidemic must be questioned. The Food and Drug Administration has the authority to regulate tobacco production (2009 Tobacco Control Act) but fails to ban menthol and reduce cigarettes nicotine content. As little has changed, the Healthy People 2010 objective of reducing the prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults to 12% by 2010 in the US will be attained by 2030. The monitoring of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is passive, even when governments repeatedly violate the Article 5.3 of the Convention, which specifically requires protecting public policy from tobacco industry interference. Since 2004, the year after the adoption of the Convention, the prevalence of daily smoking has leveled off and the 2012 annualized rate of change in prevalence of daily smoking was almost null. This contrasts with a 2% annual decrease in the prevalence of daily smoking from 1980 to 2004. The tobacco endgame needs acts, not bureaucracies. Two counties have been moving forward, Brazil has banned menthol and Australia has implemented plain packaging.

Keywords: Control; Food and Drug Administration; Framework Convention on Tobacco; Tobacco endgame.

MeSH terms

  • Epidemics / prevention & control
  • Government Regulation
  • Humans
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Smoking Prevention*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States Food and Drug Administration