Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (5):293-301 (2016)

Kalle Grill
Umeå University
Kristin Voigt
McGill University
Lifelong smokers lose on average a decade of life vis-à-vis non-smokers. Globally, tobacco causes about 5–6 million deaths annually. One billion tobacco-related deaths are predicted for the 21st century, with about half occurring before the age of 70. In this paper, we consider a complete ban on the sale of cigarettes and find that such a ban, if effective, would be justified. As with many policy decisions, the argument for such a ban requires a weighing of the pros and cons and how they impact on different individuals, both current and future. The weightiest factor supporting a ban, we argue, is the often substantial well-being losses many individuals suffer because of smoking. These harms, moreover, disproportionally affect the disadvantaged. The potential gains in well-being and equality, we argue, outweigh the limits a ban places on individuals’ freedom, its failure to respect some individuals’ autonomous choice and the likelihood that it may, in individual cases, reduce well-being.
Keywords Smoking  Paternalism  Public Health
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1136/medethics-2015-102682
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 60,044
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.
Paternalism.Gerald Dworkin - 1972 - The Monist 56 (1):64-84.
Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism.Sarah Conly - 2014 - Journal of Medical Ethics 40 (5):349-349.
Autonomy in Moral and Political Philosophy.John Christman - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

View all 19 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Double Standards and Arguments for Tobacco Regulation.Jessica Flanigan - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (5):305-311.
The Case for Banning Cigarettes.Sarah Conly - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (5):302-303.

View all 10 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Case for Banning Cigarettes.Sarah Conly - 2016 - Journal of Medical Ethics 42 (5):302-303.
Don’T Mess with My Smokes: Cigarettes and Freedom.Luc Bovens - 2016 - American Journal of Bioethics 16 (7):15-17.
Rationally Coping with Lapses From Rationality.Thomas Schelling - 1998 - Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 5:49-53.
Drug Prohibition: A Legal and Economic Analysis. [REVIEW]Walter Block - 1993 - Journal of Business Ethics 12 (9):689 - 700.


Added to PP index

Total views
57 ( #181,040 of 2,433,563 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
4 ( #172,561 of 2,433,563 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes