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The paper by Chaloupka et al (2014) represents a very important contribution to the debate about the benefits and costs of tobacco control regulations, not only in the USA, but in the rest of the world.
Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) has been a standard tool for assessing the soundness of government policies in the USA since the 1960s. Since then, many societies have adopted CBA as an important input for decision-making in various domains, including the sphere of public health. For example, the European Commission since 2003 has required Impact Assessments for all proposed regulations that must include quantification of all significant costs and benefits as well as analysis of economic, social and environmental impacts.1
For this reason, it is critical that policy makers understand not only the power, but also the potential pitfalls when applying CBA, especially when applying CBA in contexts that involve less-than-fully rational …
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