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Political Culture and Tobacco Control: An International Comparison

David Vogel, Robert A. Kagan and Timothy Kessler
Tobacco Control
Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter, 1993), pp. 317-326
Published by: BMJ
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20206919
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Political Culture and Tobacco Control: An International Comparison
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Abstract

This article describes and compares the politics of tobacco regulation in four industrial democracies: the US, Canada, France, and Japan. We argue that the degree and type of cigarette control has varied among these countries and that these contrasts reflect different political and cultural traditions concerning individual rights and the proper role of government, as well as differences in government structure. The US is widely regarded as having a highly individualistic culture, suspicious of government control over civil society. In contrast, Japan is a hierarchical society, in which individual preferences are generally sub-ordinated to group needs and state authority. France resembles Japan in its elitist decision-making and low level of group participation, but also differs in that it does not pursue social consensus or devalue individualism. Canada, like the US, is characterised by more group participation than France or Japan, but is more willing than the US to let government define and pursue collective goals. These factors have played a major role in determining the scope and target of tobacco controls implemented in each country. We identify three types of tobacco regulation: informational, paternalistic, and protective. Because the four countries have such different conceptions as to what constitutes the appropriate scope of governmental authority and responsibility, there is significant variation in the types of tobacco control they have adopted.

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