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Tobacco control is losing ground in the Web 2.0 era: invited commentary
  1. Kurt M Ribisl1,2,
  2. Catherine Jo1
  1. 1Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kurt M Ribisl, Associate Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, CB #7440, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA; kurt_ribisl{at}unc.edu

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Freeman's article1 on new media describes a number of vexing challenges and exciting opportunities for tobacco control. In the offline world, we have many solid ‘wins’ for tobacco control where we have strong evidence of what policies and programmes work and we have successfully put them into practice. These strategies include increasing tobacco excise taxes, passing smoke-free air laws, implementing countermarketing campaigns and offering tobacco cessation assistance.2–5 By contrast, with Internet 2.0,1 the field of tobacco control does not have a comprehensive list of effective policies and programmes to counteract the sale and promotion of tobacco products in the new media environment. We are distressed to see that with the progression of new technology, the gap between ‘pro-tobacco’ and tobacco control forces seems to be growing larger. This should be a wakeup call for a more concerted effort.

For example, in the offline world, one of our greatest concerns is aggressive price discounting, which leads to cheaper cigarettes that undermine quit attempts and undercut the impact of price increases.6–8 A store might offer a carton …

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