In many ways, tobacco control has set the agenda for controls in other areas, such as (most notably) alcohol. We can see this by simply comparing recent calls for action on sugar in food with existing curbs on tobacco use, taking out the ones that are not comparable or might seem a step too far (at least for now, warns the IEA and DP). Here are the types of policy instruments for tobacco and I have put an asterisk next to the latest recommendations on food.
I. Regulation (through legislation or voluntary agreements)
- Bans or restrictions on advertising and promotion (e.g. to disassociate the product with physical activity).*
- Sales to children.
- Smoking and eating in public places (second-hand smoke).
- Modify and regulate ingredients, such as the levels of tar in cigarettes and the levels of sugar, salt and fat in food.*
- Customs enforcement on smuggling and counterfeit products.
- Taxation and other levies to discourage consumption of certain products.*
- Spending on directed health services, including cessation services.
- The reform of economic incentives, including agricultural incentives and tax expenditures on arts and sports sponsorship by companies.*
- Litigation against companies (more a US than UK practice).
III. Capacity building
- Funding for community development programs and organisations to combat use.
- Health warning labels on packaging.*
- Health education campaigns.*
V. Learning and information tools
- Legislative hearings* and executive reports (US) and reports by the Chief Medical Officer (UK).
- Funding scientific research on the harms of products.*
Donley Studlar and I tried to do something more extensive on tobacco alcohol in these tables – tobacco alcohol table 25.7.13 – before taking them out in the last cut of our forthcoming article (draft here Cairney Studlar Public health in the UK March 26 2014). See also: http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/for-those-who-seek-to-strengthen-alcohol-regulation-the-experience-of-tobacco-control-shows-that-comprehensive-policy-change-is-neither-quick-nor-inevitable/