Political Economy of Youth Smoking Regulation

Published in: Addiction, v. 98, suppl. 1, May 2003, p. 123-138

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2003

by Harold Pollack, Peter Jacobson

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This paper considers the political economy of tobacco regulation-that is, the interplay between politics and markets in tobacco regulation. In surveying the interest-group politics of tobacco control, it describes political advantages held by a profitable and concentrated industry engaged in tobacco production. It also considers reasons for the surprising political success of tobacco control advocates over the past decade. The paper considers challenges faced by tobacco control advocates, who face their own obstacles to collective action in promoting effective tobacco regulation. Both public officials and tobacco control advocates face stronger incentives to advocate new legislation than they do to ensure effective implementation of existing regulatory measures. The essay concludes by considering the Master Settlement Agreement, whose detailed implementation remains uncertain after the election of the Bush administration.

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