Tag Archives: endgame

50 Years after the Surgeon General’s Report (#SGR50): Conference to Show How to End Tobacco-caused Addiction, Death, and Disease

Contact: Mark Gottlieb 617-373-20026


Boston –   The Surgeon General’s Report on Tobacco and Health released today demonstrates how far we have come in addressing the loss of health and loss of life caused by the use of the tobacco industry’s products.  But after a half century, we still have tens of millions of Americans addicted to tobacco products that will cause the premature death of nearly half of them.

After 50 years, this has to stop. 50th-anniversary-surgeon-general

The time has come to aggressively deploy policies that will bring an end to the cycle of addiction, disease and death.  In the Report, such policies are referred to as “endgame strategies.”

On September 19-20, 2014, the Public Health Advocacy Institute, in conjunction with the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium and Northeastern University School of Law will host a conference for advocates, health leaders and policymakers to do just that.

“50 Years After the Surgeon General’s Report: Accelerating Tobacco Endgame Strategies in the United States” will provide a blueprint to show what laws, regulations and policies can:

  • Reduce smoking rates to near-zero
  • Give consumers true freedom of choice by eliminating addiction from the equation
  • Consign non-smoker exposure to tobacco smoke to the dustbin of history
  • Finally complete the process that began with the 1964 Surgeon General’s Report on Smoking and Health

Speakers will include exceptional tobacco control researchers and policy leaders sharing both evidence-based best practices and bold new practices that comprise a true endgame for tobacco products.

Northeastern University Distinguished Professor of Law, Richard Daynard, a contributing editor to the Report who also serves as president of the Public Health Advocacy Institute said of the conference: “We have the legal and moral authority to make today’s generation of teenagers the first truly tobacco-free generation.  There is no reason for them to ever be addicted to tobacco products much less struggle with cessation repeatedly, as so many do. “

This meeting, the first of its kind in the United States, will highlight federal, state and local actions that will lead to an end to tobacco-caused addiction, death and disease in this country.

Re-imagining tobacco control as a means to truly end a public health problem that still kills more than 400,000 Americans each year is the next chapter in the movement that began 50 years ago when Surgeon General Luther Terry released the first Report on Smoking and Health.

The conference will be held September 19-20 (Fri-Sat) at Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, MA.  Details will be available soon at https://phaionline.org. If you would like to be notified when more information is available, please send an e-mail to moreinfo@phaionline.org.

PHAI’s Daynard Maps Bold Endgame for Smoking in United States in NY Times Op-Ed

The Public Health Advocacy Institute at Northeastern University School of Law and its President, Dick Daynard have long sought to make an impact on public health and policy by thinking outside the box. In an op-ed piece published in today’s New York Times, Daynard looks at an endgame for cigarette-caused addiction, disease and death in the U.S. and focuses in on two complementary but independent regulatory strategies.

The first strategy, available to the FDA under its authority granted in 2009 by Congress through the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, is to reduce the nicotine content of cigarettes (and cigarette-like products) to non-addictive levels. Reducing nicotine yields of tobacco products (to anything above zero) is specifically mentioned in the law and, given strong evidence that it would benefit public health, there is nothing stopping the FDA from taking this bold step. While many smokers will quit if cigarettes do not deliver sufficient nicotine to maintain their addiction, others may chose to use tobacco products with higher levels of nicotine. But because cigarettes are, far and away, the most toxic product available for delivering nicotine, making them non-addictive is the only responsible thing to do. It will help existing smokers to quit or move to less dangerous sources of nicotine, stop smoking experimentation by youth from becoming a deadly addiction, and dramatically reduce non-smokers’ exposure to tobacco smoke. Public polling, while limited, consistently shows significant support, even by smokers, for reducing nicotine in cigarettes.

The second strategy relies on states and even communities regulating the sales of cigarettes under the principles of a proposal that has gained some traction outside of the U.S., called the Smokefree Millennial Generation. I feel it should be named in honor of the late Dr. C. Everett Koop who once challenged America of become a smokefree nation by 2000. The idea is that if a person’s birth year begins with the number “2,” that person shall not purchase cigarettes (or little cigars or other cigarette-like products). The legal authority for states and communities to enact such sales restrictions was clearly stated in the legislation that granted the FDA regulatory authority over tobacco (although communities could be preempted in some states). This proposal would gradually phase out smoking, beginning with the Millennials in 2018, wherever it was enacted. As more states adopted this policy, there would be fewer places willing to sell cigarettes to 18-year-olds who are unlikely to have the mobility to get a sufficient cross-border supply to initiate or maintain addiction.

While each of these strategies would face likely legal challenges that would delay but probably not overturn the regulatory policies in question, as well as public relations and implementation challenges, the time has finally come to put an end to smoking and smoking-caused disease by focusing narrowly on the highest impact policies that would dramatically reduce smoking rates in a decade. It is PHAI’s hope that today’s op-ed will generate a discussion and support among public health and tobacco control leaders so we can work together to truly achieve our shared goal of sharply reducing preventable death and disease. Eliminating smoking may seem way outside the box, but it is the best place to start.