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December 5, 2007

The “Tobacco Wars”—Global Litigation Strategies

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC, and Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.

JAMA. 2007;298(21):2537-2539. doi:10.1001/jama.298.21.2537

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) identifies civil and criminal litigation as a public health strategy and promotes international cooperation (reporting, technical assistance, and information exchange). Holding the tobacco industry accountable through civil and criminal liability serves a number of public health objectives: punishes companies for hiding known health risks, manipulating nicotine content, and misleading the public; deters and prevents future harmful behavior; compensates individuals and stake-holders for health care and other costs associated with smoking and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS); raises prices, resulting in lower tobacco consumption; increases disclosure of health risks, through labeling and advertising restrictions; and promotes transparency, by compelling discovery of internal industry documents.

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