Comprehensive tobacco control is considered by many to be a model for effective population health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Its history holds lessons for the "scalable, actionable, innovation agenda" called for by Anne Snowdon (2017). This commentary discusses lessons from tobacco control related to: changing practices in response to evolving paradigms and scientific evidence; international best practices; the importance of a broadly-accepted, shared vision about elements of an effective strategy; scientific and public service leadership; social actors leading change through advocacy, policy and the media; organizational learning mechanisms and capacity building systems; and, the importance of a continuously renewing, forward-looking agenda. The end-game for tobacco forms part of Canada's health innovation agenda and lessons from tobacco control may inform this important forward-looking strategy.
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