19 October 2023
By Ruth E Malone, BMJ Journals
When I was appointed the third Editor-in-Chief of Tobacco Control in 2009, I did not foresee that the new role I was about to undertake would become a high point of my career. I did not yet completely realise the abundant opportunities I would have to help junior and less-experienced authors develop and publish their work, to curate the scientific and analytic literature that influences the field, and to call out and opine on emerging and contested issues in the field. Now, after many joyous, vexing, overloaded and exciting years of editing, I am ready to step down, leaving the top specialty journal in the field in capable hands with longtime Senior Editor and previous News Editor Dr Marita Hefler appointed as the journal’s new Editor-In-Chief.
A journal’s success is never attributable to any one person. I am so grateful to all the senior editors with whom I have been fortunate to work and to all the sub-editors serving in various capacities over the years. I have benefited from the unwavering support of the Editorial Advisory Board and the publisher, BMJ Journals. I am particularly thankful to our reviewers, whose expertise and guidance to the editors helps us to produce a quality journal. Most of all, I appreciate our authors and readers.
The year 2009 was an exciting time in tobacco control. In the USA, legal cases and whistleblower actions had resulted in the release of millions of pages of internal tobacco company documents, which I and many others were researching as fast as we could comb through them. During the preceding years (in a development partly spurred by the revelations in the industry documents about how the tobacco industry had worked to undermine the WHO), the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control had become one of the most rapidly embraced treaties in history, galvanising the development of a global network of NGOs that pressured governments to pass effective policy measures and reduce tobacco’s toll of preventable disease and premature death. Smokefree laws were dramatically reshaping the landscape of tobacco use. Today, it seems unimaginable that we once accepted smoking in elevators, hospitals, day care centres and airplanes.