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This collection of essays is practical and wide-ranging. The editors have assembled essays from academics who study law, politics, public health, and economics. The information is reliable and current. The charts are easy to understand. The writing is almost always clear, but arguments and analyses will challenge newcomers and provoke old hands. Essays concern the regulation of tobacco by means of international and domestic politics, taxes, marketing, and litigation, as well as efforts to reduce injuries to smokers and availability to youths. Every essay complements the whole. Each chapter features at least some history to summarize the performance of policies to date. The index will expedite use of the book as for building bibliographies, as will the abundant references and footnotes. I award only four stars because some of the chapters go too far and some not far enough. Dr. Jack Slade calls the marketing of tobacco "peculiar" despite the fact that the appeal of tobacco companies to freedom of choice is a position accepted by 75-80% of Americans, to the best of my information. Dr. Robert Kagan and his co-author conclude on page 32 that "On balance, contemporary U. S. tobacco policy seems to reflect American public opinion much more than it does the preference set of either the tobacco industry, public health activists, or antitobacco lawyers." Try writing that "duh!" conclusion in a term paper and see what grade you get when the teacher stops guffawing. Not only is that contention so obvious as to be risable, but it also misleads. Even if tobacco companies have not gotten all that they wanted, they have made billions by addicting young people to known carcinogens. Policy may long have reflected tobacco power far more than public health activism or litigation, ya think? Still, this is a terrific resource.
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