chapter  6
58 Pages

Regulating Tobacco

In an ideal world there would be little need for laws regulating products and their promotion. Producers would take care to avoid harming others and consumers would behave responsibly and look after their own interests. However, the world is not perfect. Even leaving to one side the profit motivation which may tempt producers to take risks, regulation is increasingly needed as the marketplace and products become more complex and risky and correspondingly individuals’ ability to make fully informed and rational decisions for themselves becomes stretched.1 Many such laws are readily accepted as evidenced by the mass of regulation and standardisation concerning products. However, the regulation of tobacco has often been contentious as it affects the daily lives and social habits of smokers and prevents them from enjoying products in their preferred form or at least at the time, place and manner they have become accustomed to. In Europe for instance high tar cigarettes that some smokers once enjoyed are banned as are many oral tobacco products (except in Sweden). Rules now prevent people from smoking in everyday places where previously it was commonplace like trains, planes, bars, restaurants and offices.