Reassessing policy paradigms: a comparison of the global tobacco and alcohol industries

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Tobacco is widely considered to be a uniquely harmful product for
human health. Since the mid-1990s, the strategies of transnational
tobacco corporations to undermine effective tobacco control
policy has been extensively documented through internal industry
documents. Consequently, the sale, use and marketing of tobacco
products are subject to extensive regulation and formal measures
to exclude the industry from policy-making have been adopted in
the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. In contrast to
tobacco, alcohol is subject to less stringent forms of regulation,
and the alcohol industry continues to play a central role in policymaking
in many countries and at the global level. This article
examines whether there is a sufficient rationale for such different
regulatory approaches, through a comparative analysis of the
political economy of the tobacco and alcohol industries including
the structure of the industries, and the market and political
strategies they pursue. Despite some important differences, the
extensive similarities which exist between the tobacco and alcohol
industries in terms of market structure and strategy, and political
strategy, call into question the rationale for both the relatively
weak regulatory approach taken towards alcohol, and the
continued participation of alcohol corporations in policy-making
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Public Health
Issue number1
Early online date21 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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  • Alcohol policy
  • corporations
  • Policy influence
  • Political economy

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