The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law

The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law

Edited by Andrew D. Mitchell and Tania Voon

Tobacco use represents a critical global health challenge. The World Health Organization estimates that tobacco kills nearly 6 million people a year, with the toll expected to rise to 8 million annually over the next two decades. Written by health and legal experts from institutions around the globe, The Global Tobacco Epidemic and the Law examines the key areas of domestic and international law affecting the regulation of tobacco.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Andrew D. Mitchell and Tania Voon

Subjects: law - academic, health law, international economic law, trade law, international investment law


Although the harms of tobacco smoking have been long known, they continue to be felt around the world. Close to 6 million deaths are attributable to tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke each year: Tobacco kills more than tuberculosis, [HIV/AIDS] and malaria combined. In the next two decades, the annual death toll from tobacco is expected to rise to over 8 million, with more than 80% of those deaths projected to occur in low- and middle-income countries. If effective measures are not urgently taken, tobacco could, in the 21st century, kill over 1 billion people. Tobacco regulation thus forms a key part of responding to this acknowledged global epidemic. As tobacco regulation has intensified around the world, tobacco companies have used increasingly bold domestic and international legal challenges to defeat or delay stronger regulation. This volume offers a range of perspectives on these various legal challenges, exploring first the twin areas of international law that impact significantly on this field – international health law, and international trade and investment law – and then the different jurisdictional backgrounds in which tobacco regulation operates. Part I of the book introduces the World Health Organization (WHO) in the context of tobacco control, including the key instruments of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) and the recently concluded Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products.