Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

February 13, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Over a span of nearly 20 years, California’s tobacco control program cost $2.4 billion and reduced health care costs by $134 billion, according to a new study by UC San Francisco.
Additionally, the study -- covering the beginning of the program in 1989 to 2008 -- found that the state program helped lead to some 6.8 billion fewer packs of cigarettes being sold that would have been worth $28.5 billion in sales to cigarette companies.
The study was designed to calculate the fiscal impact of California’s large public health program on smoking prevalence and cigarette consumption. The new research shows that tobacco control funding is directly tied to reductions in both the prevalence of smoking and cigarette consumption per smoker – and generates significant savings in overall health care expenditures.
“These health care cost savings began to appear almost immediately after the program started and have grown over time, reaching more than $25 billion a year in 2008,’’ said first author James Lightwood, PhD, a UCSF associate professor of clinical pharmacy.
The study was published online Feb. 13, 2013 in the journal PLOS ONE.

February 7, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that arose spontaneously in 2009, the Tea Party developed in part as a result of tobacco industry efforts to oppose smoking restrictions and tobacco taxes beginning in the 1980s, according to a study by researchers at UC San Francisco.

“Nonprofit organizations associated with the Tea Party movement have longstanding ties to tobacco companies, and continue to advocate on behalf of the tobacco industry’s anti-tax, anti-regulation agenda,” said senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, director of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education (CTCRE) and a UCSF professor of medicine and American Legacy Foundation Distinguished Professor in Tobacco Control.

The study, which appears on Feb. 8, 2013 in the journal Tobacco Control, shows that rhetoric and imagery evoking the 1773 Boston Tea Party were used by tobacco industry representatives as early as the 1980s as part of an industry-created “smokers’ rights’’ public relations campaign opposing increased cigarette taxes and other anti-smoking initiatives.

February 6, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Ruth Malone has just posted an entry on the Tobacco Control blog explaining why she is again declining the FDA's invitation to participate in a meeting hosted by the FDA on "Third Party Governance of Industry-Sponsored Tobacco Product Research."  (Her original letter and reactions to it is available here.)  

I strongly agree with Ruth and urge others to follow her lead.

For those who feel compelled to attend the FDA meeting with the tobacco companies, I urge you to make the same comments to the FDA.  Regardless of divided opinion on whether it sends a stronger message the FDA to decline to attend its meeting or to attend and speak, there seems to be a broad consensus that the FDA is not doing its job to protect the public health.  Those who decide to attend the meeting need to be strong and forthright in supporting the views that Ruth advances in her letter.

February 4, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Many people have responded to my posting of Ruth Malone’s letter on the FDA’s decision to have a “facilitated dialog” between public health and the tobacco industry.  I have also received several direct emails on the subject of harm reduction in general, including one from Joel Nitzkin, a vigorous proponent of “reduced risk” tobacco products, with a request that I post it.
In response, I asked the following question: “I have been told that the Heritage Foundation (or other similar group(s)) have been supporting Joel's work.  Is that correct?  If so, that fact should probably be disclosed.”  The Heritage Foundation has a long history of being part of the tobacco companies’ network of quietly funded “third parties” the industry uses to support its position.
In response, Dr. Nitzkin responded:

January 30, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The American Journal of Public Health just published an excellent paper, "Public Health, Academic Medicine, and the Alcohol Industry’s Corporate Social Responsibility Activities," by Thomas Babor and Katherine Robaina that is well worth reading.
Here is the abstract:

We explored the emerging relationships among the alcohol industry, academic medicine, and the public health community in the context of public health theory dealing with corporate social responsibility. We reviewed sponsorship of scientific research, efforts to influence public perceptions of research, dissemination of scientific information, and industry-funded policy initiatives.

To the extent that the scientific evidence supports the reduction of alcohol consumption through regulatory and legal measures, the academic community has come into increasing conflict with the views of the alcohol industry.
We concluded that the alcohol industry has intensified its scientific and policy-related activities under the general framework of corporate social responsibility initiatives, most of which can be described as instrumental to the industry’s economic interests.
The paper is available at