Manuscript Title

U.S.A. Tobacco Control: Six Lessons in Public Policy for Medical and Science Professionals


The expertise of medical and science professionals is needed in public policy debates in the U.S. and around the world. As societies mature, questions in public policy become increasingly complex and should be informed by science. However, too often public agendas are advanced without the benefit of science and those trained in how to interpret it.

Similarly, those trained in the sciences often do not have requisite knowledge, training or an interest in politics and policymaking. Yet, it is clear that optimal policy results in those cases when scientists and policy elites work together in meaningful partnerships. Because the worlds of science and politics—their cultures, assumptions, and methods—are largely separate and different, cooperation between these two cultures is difficult. The authors of this paper hope that their work interpreting one major issue of scientific importance as it has wound its way through public policy processes will be instructive to those in science who are enlisted to bring scientific discovery to public policy making (Fritschler and Rudder 2007). The 60-year political struggle to move the issue of tobacco control from the agenda of a small group of medical researchers to the public agenda offers insights about public policymaking that are transferable to other issues which rest on science.