Tob Control 14:ii31-ii37 doi:10.1136/tc.2004.008060
  • Research paper

Individual rights advocacy in tobacco control policies: an assessment and recommendation

  1. J E Katz
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr James E Katz
 Rutgers University, 4 Huntington Street, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA;


    Efforts to control environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) could be assisted if the tobacco control movement gave greater emphasis to the issue of individual rights. Benefits that may accrue from the promotion of a clear individual rights perspective in tobacco control include adding coherence to the tobacco control advocacy agenda and winning support from those who may have been concerned about loss of personal freedom, excessive governmental power, use of social coercion, or the rights of smokers. Risks also attend to such a policy. It might inadvertently assist the tobacco industry, stir resistance to ETS limitation efforts, or confuse tobacco control supporters. On balance, though, liabilities are outweighed by the ethical and operational merits in tobacco control of a heightened pro-individual rights stance.


    • Competing interests: none declared

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