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Strong tobacco control policies in Brazil credited for more than 400,000 lives saved
Date:11/6/2012

prevalence in Brazil since 1989 was reduced by 46 percent by 2010, because of the introduction of tobacco control measures. Almost half of this reduction was explained by price increases, 14 percent by smoke-free laws, another 14 percent by marketing restrictions, 10 percent by cessation treatment programs, 8 percent by health warnings, and 6 percent by anti-smoking media campaigns.

Levy has developed similar models for 30 different nations. He says one distinguishing factor in Brazil's tobacco policies is its use of graphic health warnings on cigarette packages.

"While our model credits only eight percent of the reduction in smoking to health warnings, this is likely greatly underestimated because the value assigned in the model was based on current literature. We believe that value doesn't accurately represent the impact health warnings have in Brazil particularly for youths." Levy continues, "Brazil has extensively tested its warnings with younger smokers and found a greater impact on reducing smoking than is found in the other studies."

He points out that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected a government mandate requiring the use of nine specific graphic health warnings on cigarette packaging based, in part, on its views of the proper role of warning labels and its questioning of evidence presented on the effectiveness of graphic warning labels. Levy suggests rigorous testing with graphic warnings in the youth population in the U.S. might also demonstrate a significant impact on smoking behaviors.

Levy also noted that Brazil recently decided to ban menthol cigarettes, and that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with regulating product content, is considering a similar policy in this country.

While the U.S., particularly states such as California, have seen success in reducing smoking rates by implementing strong policies, none have had the kind of success seen in Braz
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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert  

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