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Conflicts over Tobacco Policy and Public Health

Eric A. Feldman, Ronald Bayer

ISBN 9780674013346

Publication date: 08/15/2004

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.


  • Unfiltered chronicles the ambivalence and diversity with which democracies reconcile the need to respect smokers' rights and dignity with the need to prevent millions of smoking-related deaths. Both tobacco control advocates and their libertarian critics will find something to cheer about in Unfiltered. The stories told--about the necessity and the perils of paternalism, the role of class, expertise, and interest group politics in shaping health policy--surely have broader application. I know of no similar book-length comparative study of tobacco policy across wealthy societies.

    —Harold Pollack, University of Chicago


  • Eric A. Feldman is Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
  • Ronald Bayer is Professor at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University.

Book Details

  • 404 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press