The term “nanny state” is regularly used to attack health groups or governments, especially by interest groups bereft of arguments and journalists in search of a cliché. It has become a special favourite of tobacco companies and their supporters. In the present work we argue that the term should be retired in favour of genuine debate on substantive issues.
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Competing interests: None.
Funding: The authors are supported by Healthway (the Western Australia Health Promotion Foundation).