Learning from 70 Years of Tobacco Control: Winning the War and Not Just the Battles

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


The tobacco industry is perhaps the sector for which the conflicts of interest with population health are most widely understood; the industry on which the most research has been conducted; and from which the most internal documentation has been made available. Based on this, key lessons on commercial pressures, priorities, strategies, and tactics have emerged. Yet after decades of research, advocacy, and policy changes, including the groundbreaking Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the tobacco industry remains extremely profitable and active globally, and cigarettes remain a leading cause of preventable death. This chapter describes the nature and activities of the tobacco industry, its evolution in response to attempts to regulate and denormalize it. Above all, it draw attentions to the lessons that must be learned from tobacco if we are to effectively address other commercial drivers of ill health in a reasonable timeframe. These include the need to address industry’s long-term and upstream influence strategies, not just its short-term, downstream influence; to establish the right structures that enable the public health community to counter global industries; and rather than repeatedly identifying the problems, to seek out more radical, sustainable solutions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Commercial Determinants of Health
EditorsNason Manni, Mark Petticrew, Sandro Galea
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press (OUP)
ISBN (Electronic)9780197578780
ISBN (Print)9780197578742
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • tobacco industry
  • tobacco control
  • commercial determinants of health
  • illicit activity
  • policy influence
  • non-communicable disease


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