Can Tobacco Control Endgame Analysis Learn Anything from the U.S. Experience with Illegal Drugs?

Published in: Tobacco Control, v. 22, suppl. 1, May 2013, p. i49-i51

Posted on RAND.org on May 01, 2013

by Peter Reuter

Read More

Access further information on this document at Tobacco Control

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

The goals of tobacco control endgame strategies are specified in terms of the desired levels of tobacco use and/or tobacco related health consequences. Yet the strategies being considered may have other consequences beyond tobacco use prevalence, forms and related harms. Most of the proposed strategies threaten to create large black markets with potential attendant harms: corruption, high illegal earnings, violence and/or organised crime. Western societies of course have considerable experience with these problems in the context of prohibition of drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. These experiences suggest that low prevalence has been achieved only by tough enforcement with damaging unintended consequences. Tobacco prohibition (total or partial) may not present the same trade-off but there is little basis for making a projection of the scale, form and harms of the attendant black markets. Nonetheless, these harms should not be ignored in analyses of the endgame proposals.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.