Review Of "Smoke-Filled Rooms: A Postmortem On The Tobacco Deal" By W. K. Viscusi

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In this provocative analysis of federal and state tobacco settlements, Viscusi (Harvard Law School) not only offers a compelling argument for why these settlements are misguided, but also proposes an alternative public policy approach that, he argues, more directly addresses the costs of smoking. He criticizes the existing public policy approach because it treats smoking as a public health issue; a major component of that approach includes battling the tobacco industry as part of an effort to reduce risks to public health. His alternative substitutes individual welfare for public health. A major component of his proposal is that the FDA make available information regarding health risks of individual brands of cigarettes, thus enabling consumers to choose the cigarette (and risk level) with which they are comfortable, and that the government facilitate technological innovation in the cigarette industry. The book includes careful analysis of the tobacco settlements, the costs of smoking (including environmental exposure) to society, attitudes toward risk, and youth smoking. This volume will challenge readers to review assumptions about the true efficacy of existing public policy toward smoking and to consider Viscusi's alternative, which derives directly from the economics of consumer choice. Recommended for professionals, general readers interested in public policy issues, and academic audiences, upper-division undergraduates and up.


This work is freely available courtesy of Choice Reviews. The review has been reproduced in full in the abstract field.

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