Koh H. Place Matters for Tobacco Control . JAMA Forum Archive. Published online July 6, 2016. doi:10.1001/jamahealthforum.2016.0028
For too long, tobacco industry strategies to normalize and glamorize use of their product have perpetuated a preventable epidemic. Although US adult smoking rates declined to 15.1% in 2015, nearly half a million people die annually just from cigarette use in the United States. Projections are that 5.6 million US children alive today will die prematurely from tobacco-related disease. For every tobacco-related death, approximately 30 more individuals live with chronic tobacco-induced disease and disability.
A place-based strategy for tobacco control can promote progress toward ending the epidemic. A culture shift—that is, changing “the way we do things around here”—can create healthy change. For example, efforts to foster tobacco-free norms have resulted in healthier worksites, restaurants, bars, and other public places. Denormalizing and deglamorizing use in an even wider variety of high-risk settings—places where tobacco is sold or used—can further accelerate culture change to foster health.
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