Does the COVID-19 pandemic provide an opportunity to eliminate the tobacco industry?

October 26, 2020

Authors: John P A Ioannidis and Prabhat Jha
The Lancet

Tobacco use is the top modifiable global health problem, but the global tobacco market grows 3% annually.

Most anti-tobacco measures to date target demand (eg, higher excise taxes). However, the endgame might require reducing supply.

The main counterarguments are financial (eg, economic damage or lost jobs) and defences of personal choice. Most importantly, public health has little experience in enforcing major changes that disrupt markets. The ongoing societal response to COVID-19 offers a precedent for drastic action taken to eliminate the tobacco industry.

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