The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity: Lessons for Obesity Policy from the Tobacco Wars

This chapter summarizes the strategies that have been successful in causing the sharp declines in smoking and other tobacco product use observed over the past several decades and describes the potential for similar strategies to be effective in reversing the rise in obesity, using the World Health Organization’s MPOWER package as an organizing framework. This is followed by a brief discussion of the industry’s role in addressing tobacco use and obesity. The MPOWER package determines the six most effective interventions for reducing tobacco use. These include: monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies; protecting people from tobacco smoke; offering help to quit tobacco use; warning about the dangers of tobacco; enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship; and raising taxes on tobacco products. Tobacco companies actively worked against the adoption and implementation of policies and programs effective in reducing tobacco use.

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October 2011

Author: Frank J. Chaloupka