UCSF Forum to Focus on Tobacco Research, Education

Douglas Bettcher

Experts in tobacco education and research will convene at a symposium at UCSF on Friday, Feb. 12 to talk about the influence of the tobacco industry, tobacco dependence in underserved populations and smoking cessation, among other topics.

The campus community is invited to attend the half-day symposium, titled “It’s About a Billion Lives: Celebrating Tobacco Research and Education at UCSF,” from 8 a.m. to noon, in Health Sciences West, room 301, on the UCSF Parnassus campus. Registration is not required.

The symposium will include UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, who will deliver closing remarks and a poster session demonstrating the breadth of tobacco research at UCSF.

Douglas Bettcher, director of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative, will give the keynote speech titled “Reining in Big Tobacco: The View from the World Health Organization.”

Other speakers and topics is as follows:

  • Janine Cataldo, PhD, RN, assistant professor of physiological nursing, “No Smoker Left Behind: The Tobacco Industry Contribution to Geriatric Science;”
  • Norval Hickman, PhD, postdoctoral fellow, “Reaching Populations in Need: Treating Tobacco Dependence among the Understudied and Underserved;”
  • Neal Benowitz, MD, professor of medicine and bioengineering and therapeutic sciences and chief of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, “Making in Personal: Individualizing Smoking Cessation Treatment;”
  • Elena Lingas, DrPH, MPH, postdoctoral fellow, “Tobacco Industry Influence on Food Flavor Research: Can We Trust Science?”

The symposium is sponsored by UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, which acts as a focal point for tobacco research, education, cessation, and training at the University. The center encompasses 46 faculty members, their students, fellows, and staff, whose work extends from basic studies of nicotine pharmacology through the health effects of smoking and secondhand smoke to action-oriented policy interventions.

Tobacco’s Death Toll

The leading cause of preventable death, tobacco kills more than 5 million people per year and unless urgent action is taken to control the tobacco epidemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that the annual death toll could rise to 8 million by 2030, according to a new report.

The WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2009 states that nearly 95 percent of the global population is unprotected by laws banning smoking. The UN agency chose to make smoke-free environments the focus of its 2009 report because of the harm of second-hand smoke, which causes about 600,000 premature deaths per year, countless crippling and disfiguring illnesses and economic losses in the tens of billions of dollars per year, according to the WHO.

Most of WHO’s anti-tobacco efforts are centered on the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), an international treaty ratified in 2003 and enforced in 2005. The FCTC has since become one of the most widely embraced treaties in UN history and, as of today, has already 168 parties. An evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health, the FCTC represents a milestone for the promotion of public health and provides new legal dimensions for international health cooperation.

Related Links:

WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2009: Implementing smoke-free environments

WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control

UCSF in India: Cigarettes Clouding the Economic Rise
UCSF Public Affairs video, YouTube

Study shows cigarette smoking a risk for Alzheimer’s disease
News Release, January 29, 2010

UCSF’s Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education