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Transforming the tobacco market: why the supply of cigarettes should be transferred from for-profit corporations to non-profit enterprises with a public health mandate


Current tobacco control strategies seek primarily to decrease the demand for cigarettes through measures that encourage individuals to adopt healthier behaviours. These measures are impeded and undermined by tobacco corporations, whose profit drive compels them to seek to maintain and expand cigarette sales. Tobacco corporations seek to expand cigarette sales because they are for-profit business corporations and are obliged under law to maximise profits, even when this results in harm to others. It is not legally possible for a for-profit corporation to relinquish its responsibility to make profits or for it to temper this obligation with responsibilities to support health. Tobacco could be supplied through other non-profit enterprises. The elimination of profit driven behaviour from the supply of tobacco would enhance the ability of public health authorities to reduce tobacco use. Future tobacco control strategies can seek to transform the tobacco market from one occupied by for-profit corporations to one where tobacco is supplied by institutions that share a health mandate and will help to reduce smoking and smoking related disease and death.

  • CSR, corporate social responsibility
  • FCTC, Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
  • RMM, regulated market model
  • TPA, Tobacco Products Agency
  • tobacco policy
  • tobacco industry

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