Dr Koop is professor of surgery, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, NH; Dr Kessler is dean, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Conn; and Dr Lundberg is the Editor of JAMA .
1998 may be the most important moment in the history of the tobacco
wars, a moment when America chooses between a path toward social repair or
one toward irrevocable public loss. Winston Churchill said, "Americans can
be counted upon to do the right thing—after trying everything else."
This year, Americans may finally do the right thing. After years of growing
public and professional awareness of the addictiveness of nicotine, of the
health effects of tobacco, and of the tobacco industry's extensive efforts
to target young children, federal laws may be enacted to seriously weaken
the grip of the industry on the public and on the nation's health. Conversely,
there is the risk that the tobacco industry could further entrench its ability
to stand outside the ordinary rules of commerce in society.
Koop CE, Kessler DC, Lundberg GD. Reinventing American Tobacco PolicySounding the Medical Community's Voice. JAMA. 1998;279(7):550-552. doi:10.1001/jama.279.7.550