Tobacco Regulations and Norms:

The New York Times believes legislation passed by Congress granting the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products is an “enormous victory for public health.” For reasons I explain in this NRO article, I am not convinced the legislation does much for public health, let alone the public good. Among other things, the legislation could frustrate the development and marketing of reduced-risk tobacco products, impose troubling limitations on commercial speech, and cement Philip Morris’ position as the tobacco industry’s dominant player. Is it any wonder Philip Morris was a big backer of the bill?

Speaking of tobacco regulation, Henry Farrell has an interesting post considering the near “universal success” in implementing smoking bans in public places in the United States as well as overseas, including places like Ireland and Italy where one might have suspected smokers and pub owners to disregard such laws. Specifically, Farrell suggests:

my best guess in the absence of good evidence would be that the success of the ban reflected instabilities in previously existing informal norms about where people could or could not smoke. Laws that work against prevailing social norms face an uphill battle in implementation

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