ASPPH logo


School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

Michigan Tobacco Cessation Initiatives

Michigan research: Preventing deaths by increasing the minimum age of legal access of tobacco products

Increasing the minimum age of legal access (MLA) to tobacco products will prevent or delay initiation of tobacco use by adolescents and young adults, particularly those ages 15 to 17, and improve the health of Americans across the lifespan, says a new report from the Institute of Medicine.

The committee that conducted the study included Dr. Rafael Meza, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. The team estimated the likely reduction in tobacco-use initiation that would be achieved by raising the MLA for tobacco products to 19 years old, 21 years, or 25 years, and used two tobacco-use simulation models, SimSmoke and the CISNET smoking population model, to quantify the accompanying public health outcomes. The report says that if the MLA were raised now to age 21 nationwide, there would be approximately 249,000 fewer premature deaths, 45,000 fewer deaths from lung cancer, and 4.2 million fewer years of life lost for the cohort of Americans born between 2000 and 2019.

Dr. Meza serves as coordinating principal investigator of the Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling Network (CISNET) Lung consortium, which works to develop models to estimate the impact of tobacco control in the United States. In particular, the group estimated that tobacco control efforts since 1964 prevented the deaths of 8 million Americans. Currently, group members are developing models to assess the future impact of new tobacco control policies and investigating the potential synergies between smoking cessation and lung cancer CT screening to reduce lung cancer mortality in the United States.

[Photo: Dr. Rafael Meza]

The Nicotine Fix: American’s Cigarette Addiction

In an article published in The Atlantic, Dr. Kenneth Warner and Dr. Harold Pollock co-author a look back and look ahead at tobacco policy in this country, including end-game strategies and a three-part solution..  Since 1964, some 8 million Americans have each experienced an average of 20 additional years of life because they responded to tobacco control — the educational messages, higher prices, restrictions on advertising, smoke-free workplaces — by quitting smoking or by never starting in the first place.

Warner is the Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. Dr. Pollock is professor of social-service administration at the University of Chicago and a fellow of the Century Foundation.

To read the article, visit

[Photo: Dr. Kenneth Warner]

Michigan hosts symposium on populations, public health, and the law; former Surgeon General Carmona offers keynote

Dr. Richard Carmona, who served as U.S. surgeon general from 2002 to 2006, addressed “Politics and the Future of Public Health” at a symposium held at U-M SPH April 17.  Dr. Carmona, a strong supporter of public health and an outspoken critic of political interference with the Office of the Surgeon General, was the first surgeon general to say that secondhand smoke is dangerous at any level, called obesity a national security issue, and criticized the administration that appointed him for suppressing scientific findings.

In June 2006, Carmona issued a report saying there is no safe level of secondhand smoke and called for bans on indoor smoking. The scientific evidence is now indisputable: Secondhand smoke is not a mere annoyance. It is a serious health hazard that can lead to disease and premature death in children and nonsmoking adults,” he wrote in the report.

Carmona’s keynote set the tone for a symposium of the George Consortium — a national group of leading public health scholars — which addressed the future direction for public health law and how scholars and practitioners can help shape judicial and regulatory trends. At a time of increasing opposition to public health interventions, the symposium considered fundamental questions about the future direction of public health law in securing basic public health protections. In particular, the symposium discussed ways of responding to recent judicial trends that impose limits on health officials’ ability to protect the population’s health.  Symposium organizer was Professor of Health Law and Policy Peter Jacobson, who directs the University of Michigan’s Center for Law, Ethics and Health and was formerly president of the Public Health Law Association.

The symposium was sponsored by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Public Health Law Research Program and the University of Michigan School of Public Health.

[Photo: Mr. Peter Jacobson]

[Photo: Dr. Richard Carmona provided the symposium keynote address.  He was surgeon general from 2002-2006]

Michigan Hosts Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative Website

The Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative, a partnership of HHS, U-M and the American College Health Association, promotes the implementation of 100 percent smoke and tobacco-free campus policies at institutions of higher learning to change social norms.   Since the initiative launch in September 2012, the number of American colleges and universities with 100 percent smoke-free campus policies has doubled, from 774 to 1,543.

U-M SPH adjunct faculty member Dr. Cliff Douglas is the Initiative’s founding director.

To learn more about the progress of the Tobacco-Free College Campus Initiative and its partners, visit