The Royal College of Physicians has long played an important role in the struggle against tobacco. As tobacco is a legally traded substance, its regulation increasingly takes place at a European level, where governments seek to balance concerns about public health and free trade. Consequently, it is essential that those seeking to reduce the toll of tobacco-related disease understand the nature of the debate at a European level, in particular the strategies being pursued by the tobacco industry to undermine efforts to promote public health. After describing the European legislative process, this paper explores the current European debates on advertising restrictions, warning labels and cigarette composition, bans on public smoking, taxation alleged industry involvement in smuggling, and subsidies for tobacco producers. It concludes by examining areas where the College might take action.
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|Published - 2002