Tobacco presents the public health case study par excellence: how to tackle a totally preventable epidemic, unnecessary morbidity and avoidable premature mortality. The publication of the white paper Smoking Kills in 1998 suggested that tobacco had finally become recognised, politically as well as professionally, as a substantial health threat in the UK: one that warranted serious policy and programme initiatives at national level and throughout the National Health Service. In May 1999, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution paving the way towards negotiations for the world's first international health treaty – to combat the world's biggest health threat, namely tobacco. From time to time, the tobacco industry has considered developing and marketing a 'less harmful' product. The EU Tobacco Products Directive outlines several future steps towards more rigorous regulation. The EU and member states will have to consider whether to introduce some form of Tobacco Regulatory Authority.