Tobacco continues to kill millions of people around the world each year and its use is increasing in some countries.
What’s agreeable is that bold, radical moves are necessary to achieve the tobacco control “endgame” – that is, the end of the global smoking pandemic.
What may not be agreeable are the means to get there.
In this week’s PLOS Medicine, two leading tobacco control advocates debate the merits of the smoker’s license.
In one corner is Simon Chapman, who first proposed the smoker’s license. He sets out a case for introducing a smart card license for smokers designed to limit access to cigarettes and encourage cessation. Key elements include smokers setting daily limits, financial incentives for permanent license surrender, and a test of health risk knowledge for commencing smokers.
Arguing against the smoker’s license is Jeff Collin, who says that it would shift focus away from the real vector of the epidemic—the tobacco industry—and by focusing on individuals would censure victims, increase stigmatization of smokers, and marginalize the poor.
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