The University Record, September 20, 1999

SPH symposium focuses on tobacco

By Amy Reyes
News and Information Services

School of Public Health students and faculty gathered on Sept. 13 at Rackham Auditorium for the second annual Public Health Symposium, “Tobacco Control: Where Do We Go from Here?”

The symposium was launched last year as a way of bringing together students and faculty from each of the public health disciplines to examine a pressing public health issue, Dean Noreen Clark said in opening remarks.

“The focus of this year’s symposium, the problem to which the range of public health skills must be applied, is tobacco control. The U-M is in a particularly strong position to address this problem. Some of the leading researchers in the world are on this campus studying the legal, economic, behavioral and political factors that affect the availability of tobacco and the efforts to reduce the number of smokers in this country and worldwide,” she said.

Tobacco control is indeed one of the most pressing public health issues facing the nation today. Tobacco is the leading cause of disease and avoidable premature mortality in the United States. It is responsible for one-fifth of all deaths in this country.

Despite the efforts of the tobacco companies, the public health community is gaining in its battle against the tobacco industry, said Kenneth Warner, professor of health management and policy and director of the U-M Tobacco Research Network.

The network is a newly formed interdisciplinary research group funded by Ted Klein of Ted Klein & Company, a public relations firm in New York. Research in technological, legal, policy and community-based social interventions has played a significant role.

“This year’s public health symposium explores many facets of the future of tobacco use and of tobacco control,” Warner said.

Warner opened the sessions with a compelling look at the “Future of Nicotine Delivery and Regulation.”

Topics of other sessions included: “Implications of Tobacco Lawsuits,” “Preventing Tobacco Use by Young People,” “Community-based Tobacco Control Interventions,” “New Technologies and Strategies for Smoking Cessation,” “The Role of Managed Care and Corporations in Tobacco Control,” Using Models to Predict the Future Course of the Tobacco Epidemic,” and “Environmental Tobacco Smoke: Health Risks and Policy Implications.”