Tobacco Regulation, Illicit Markets, and Crime
(Crime and Drugs)
Friday, November 13, 2015: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Johnson I (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Panel Organizers: Jonathan Kulick, Pepperdine University
Panel Chairs: Angela Hawken, Pepperdine University
Discussants: Emily Owens, University of Pennsylvania and Joe Gitchell, PinneyAssociates
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently considering whether to adopt stricter regulation of tobacco products. Possible actions include setting new product standards. For example, banning menthol cigarettes and regulating e-cigarettes to restrict their sale, among others. The agency is mandated to consider the impacts of its actions on public health, and in the past has taken a narrow view of its mandate by not considering thoroughly the unintended consequences of regulation. However, a complete accounting of the costs and benefits of regulation includes harms from possible illicit trade in tobacco products (ITTP): violence (which impinges on the public health), costs of enforcement, incarceration, and other social costs of crime. Recognizing now that tobacco regulation has the possibility to stimulate ITTP, the FDA asked the National Research Council (NRC) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) to review the links between regulation and ITTP with a focus on implications for US policy and recommendations for research and data collection. The NRC-IOM report, released in February 2015, reviews ITTP internationally and in the US, discusses the impact of regulatory, policy, and law-enforcement interventions in the illicit tobacco market, and considers consumer and supplier responses to policy changes.
In response to the NRC-IOM report, this panel will be convened to discuss how policy toward tobacco regulation affects ITTP. The primary paper is the NRC-IOM report itself, which will be presented by its lead editor. This talk will focus on research related to ITTP and how the FDA’s potential actions may interact with ITTP. Other papers will discuss the research agenda that the FDA should pursue for informed decision-making, novel empirical work on how one aspect of tobacco policy—taxation—affects ITTP, and policy interventions that could be implemented at federal, state, and local levels to curb ITTP.
The panel members approach the common topic from a diverse set of research approaches, methodologies, and academic fields. One paper is an econometric investigation, while the others employ a mix of quantitative and qualitative policy research methods. The participants also bring the varied experiences of diverse backgrounds to the panel. The academic disciplines and training of the participants include criminology, economics, tobacco/medical research, and public policy. The panel will provide participants and attendees the opportunity to hear from and interact with leading voices on the front lines of this rapidly evolving area of public policy.