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July 21, 1993

Banning Tobacco Advertising: Boon to the Industry?-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Society of Law, Medicine, and Ethics Boston, Mass
Harvard Medical School Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1993;270(3):322. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510030045024

In Reply.  —Smoking is a highly complex and insufficiently understood behavior. Consequently, effective reductions in smoking behavior are likely to be achieved through a comprehensive public health strategy based on the best available data. At the same time, antismoking policies must be respectful of human rights and avoid promoting intolerance of socially unacceptable behaviors.Dr Simonich is correct to warn that a ban on advertising could sharply reduce the cost of doing business for cigarette manufacturers. Since the cigarette market exhibits some price elasticity, significant increases in taxes may be necessary to maintain or increase the price of cigarettes.We support a multidimensional public health approach to cigarette smoking, including tax increases, health education, smoking prevention, and cessation programs. We urge some caution regarding the remaining two suggestions made by Simonich—government-imposed smoking restrictions and a ban on the introduction of new brands of cigarettes.Government-imposed smoking restrictions can represent a