Devising an Endgame in the War on Tobacco

In recent months, some tobacco and health experts around the country have begun to devise radical proposals to hinder Big Tobacco and crush the business in a final, coordinated attack.


The National Post’s Tom Blackwell, in particular, has offered illuminating coverage of the debates within the anti-smoking community, where moderates are pitted against prohibitionists. The first endgame summit will be held this upcoming fall at Queen’s University.

The full article by Blackwell is here:


It begins like this:

In the faltering war against cigarettes, the latest battle cries are eye openers: prohibit smoking for anyone born after the year 2000; require a licence to buy cigarettes; nationalize the tobacco industry.

Or just make selling cigarettes illegal.

All have been proposed as part of the “tobacco endgame,” a radical — and controversial — new approach to the smoking scourge that a select group of Canadian public-health experts will discuss later this year.

Endgame proponents note that a stubborn 20 per cent of the population continues to smoke — tens of thousands of them dying annually as a result — and argue the numbers are unlikely to decrease much under current anti-smoking policies.

So, they say, it’s time for innovative, out-of-the-box ideas that might just stamp out Western society’s biggest-single source of disease.

“We’ve got to do something,” says Rob Schwartz, executive director of the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit. “I’m an academic, not an advocate, but when I have the data in my hands, I feel a moral responsibility to make it known.”

Canada’s first tobacco-endgame “summit” is planned for Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont., this fall. It will be headed by Dr. Elizabeth Eisenhauer, the oncology department chairwoman, with about 100 invitation-only public-health and policy experts brainstorming a blueprint for dramatic action.

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