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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2041

Smoking as an ‘informed choice’: implications for endgame strategies

By Manjari Peiris

Published in British Medical Journal, a study findings conducted through in-depth interviews with New Zealand politicians, policy analysts and tobacco control advocates, to examine how they interpreted 'informed choice' about smoking as argued by tobacco companies often asserting that adults should be free to make their own choice when using cigarettes, the participants rejected this assumption and saw it as a cynical self-justification by tobacco companies.

The participants thought 'informed choice' implied that people make an active decision to smoke, knowing and accepting the risks they face. Some of them believed this rhetoric had countered calls for stronger policies and thought governments used 'informed choice' arguments to support inaction.

Several called on the government to stop allowing a lethal product to be widely sold while simultaneously advising people not to use it.

The 'informed choice' arguments allow the ubiquitous availability of tobacco to go unquestioned and create a tension between endgame goals and the strategies used to achieve them. Reducing tobacco availability would address this anomaly by aligning government's actions with its advice.

Tobacco companies often assert that adults should be free to make an 'informed choice' about smoking. This argument influences public perceptions and shapes public health policy agendas by promoting educative interventions ahead of regulation. Critically analyzing 'informed choice' claims is pivotal in countries that have set endgame goals and require new, more effective policies to achieve their smoke-free aims.

Source of information: British Medical Journal

- Asian Tribune -

Smoking as an ‘informed choice’: implications for endgame strategies
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