There has been growing tension at the intersection of health and economic policy making as global governance has increased across sectors. This tension has been particularly evident between tobacco control and trade policy, as the international norms that frame them — particularly the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the World Trade Organization (WTO) — have continued to institutionalize. Using five case studies of major tobacco-related trade disputes from the principal multilateral system of trade governance — the WTO/General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade — we trace the evolution of these interacting norms over nearly twenty-five years. Our analytic framework focuses on the actors that advance, defend, and challenge these norms. We find that an increasingly broad network, which includes governments, intergovernmental organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and members of the epistemic community, is playing a more active role in seeking to resolve these tensions. Moreover, key economic actors are beginning to incorporate health more actively into their messaging and activities. We also demonstrate that the most recent resonant messages reflect a more nuanced integration of the two norms. The tobacco control example has direct relevance to related policy areas, including environment, safety, access to medicines, diet, and alcohol.

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