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Federalism and Multilevel Governance in Tobacco Policy: the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Devolved UK Institutions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 April 2009

Division of Social Science Graceland University University Place Lamoni, IA
Dept. of Politics and International Relations University of Aberdeen Aberdeen, Scotland AB24 3QY
Dept. of Political Science West Virginia University P.O. Box 6317 Morgantown, WV 26506–6317,


Most studies of tobacco control policy focus on the central level of national governments. Yet within the European Union, three levels of government have responsibilities for tobacco control: the EU; the central governments of member states; and provinces or devolved levels of government. This article examines the role of each in the formation of tobacco policy in the United Kingdom. It compares the theory of regulatory federalism with multilevel governance as explanations for tobacco regulatory policy within the EU. While executive-legislative fusion in the United Kingdom leads to the practice of discretionary federalism, the EU provides mixed support for the theory of regulatory federalism. There is significant policy innovation in the UK and its devolved territories as well as limited policy authority for tobacco control in the EU. Overall, multi-level governance (MLG) may be a superior, albeit incomplete, explanation of tobacco control within the EU and the UK.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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