Tobacco Control: Comparative Politics in the United States and Canada


327 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55111-456-9
DDC 362.29'66'0971





Reviewed by Dave Bennett

David Bennett is the national director of the Department of Workplace Health, Safety and Environment at the Canadian Labour Congress in Ottawa.


Donley Studlar has produced a comprehensive, balanced, and detailed
comparative study of tobacco-control policy in the United States and
Canada, at all levels of government. In the period 1964–84, America
took the lead, but Canada became a world leader from 1984 to 1994, in
such areas as high taxation, regulation of advertising, and the
restriction of smoking in federally regulated workplaces. The years
1994–2001 were a period of policy convergence, though (with the
exception of British Columbia), the United States has been more
successful at the state–provincial/municipal level over workplace and
public restrictions, lawsuits, the use of taxation revenues to combat
youth smoking, and the Master Settlement Agreement between states and
tobacco companies. The new century began with Canadian anti-smoking
groups urging the federal government to adopt the U.S. model of casting
the tobacco companies as merchants of death.

There are some oddities and surprises owing to the complexity of the
issue, such as disputed science and the tension between public, private,
and individual responsibility for tobacco-related disease. One such
surprise is the ability of the Canadian federal government to control
tobacco at the national level, more so than the United States. Another
is that Canadian public interest groups have been more influential in
Canada than their U.S. counterparts have been in America. Anyone
interested in North American tobacco-control policy will find this book
indispensable and, invariably, highly useful.


Studlar, Donley T., “Tobacco Control: Comparative Politics in the United States and Canada,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,