An Endgame for Tobacco?

Novel, even radical proposals stimulate new thinking and dialogue around "endgame" strategies for tobacco prevention and control.

While the reduction in tobacco use has seen dramatic results in just the last decade, rates of smoking prevalence have stalled. An estimated 6 million people a year die from illnesses caused by cigarettes; 400,000 of those deaths occur in the U.S. alone.

What would it take to reduce or entirely eliminate cancer-causing illnesses and deaths? The answer, according to many thought leaders, scholars and experts in the tobacco field is the ‘tobacco endgame.’

In June 2012,  Kenneth E. Warner, former dean of the University of Michigan School of Public Health and project director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) initiative to evaluate solutions for preventing and controlling tobacco use, convened 40 top tobacco control advocates who discussed their own ideas for ‘endgame’ strategies.

The series of articles in this special supplement of Tobacco Control are an outgrowth of that meeting, and offer six endgame strategies intended to stimulate new thinking and dialogue for tobacco prevention and control—from dramatically reducing nicotine, to total abolition of cigarette sales.

Warner states, “While we struggle today with often widely divergent perspectives and beliefs, we all share the same vision of the final words to this story: 'The end'."