Freedom of choice and the tobacco endgame

Andreas T. Schmidt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Endgame proposals strive for a tobacco-free (or at least cigarette-free) society. Some endgame proposals are radical and include, for example, a complete ban on cigarettes. Setting aside empirical worries, one worry is ethical: would such proposals not go too far in interfering with individual freedom? I argue that concerns around freedom do not speak against endgame proposals, including strong proposals such as a ban on cigarettes. I first argue that when balancing freedom with public health goals in tobacco control, the latter win out. But I also argue that, in principle, a concern with freedom itself already justifies endgame measures. First, such measures can increase people's lifetime freedom, that is, the freedom they have across their entire lives. Second, such measures can facilitate a better interpersonal distribution of freedom by increasing aggregate societal freedom and by reducing inequalities. Overall, freedom does not preclude strict tobacco control but supports it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalBioethics
Volume36
Issue number1
Early online date20-Oct-2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2022

Keywords

  • autonomy
  • freedom
  • liberalism
  • paternalism
  • public health
  • tobacco control
  • tobacco endgame

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