Presentations

The Kennedy Family’s Legacy to a Tobacco-Free America


by Emilia Dunham

Program Associate, Reporting from the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act: Regulatory Science and the Tobacco Industry at Harvard School of Public Health

Joseph P. Kennedy III (grandson of Robert Kennedy), nephew of Ted Kennedy has a career of public health service and advocacy and spoke to the legacy of the Kennedy’s in tobacco control. At today’s event, he was presented with the honoring of Senator Edward Moore Kennedy’s great contribution to tobacco control adding to the family legacy as seen below.

 Kennedy Tobacco Control Timeline

  • 1962 – Surgeon General Warning announced by JFK.
  • 1967 – Robert Kennedy gave address to World Conference on Tobacco or Health
  • 2007 – Led hearing on FDA regulation of tobacco products
  • 2009 – Obama signed Ted Kennedy’s legislation, Affordable Care Act and Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act

Now in 2011 FDA has broadened authority to restrict tobacco marketing. Hopefully just as it has done for food labeling, regulating meat and dairy, responding quickly to approve HIV medications, great strides will be made in our protection from tobacco in short order.

As this conference memorialized the great work of late Senator Ted Kennedy and legacy of the family in the past 50 years, Joseph Kennedy talks about how this fight goes back even further, and is owed largely to other activists and scientists who shoveled against the tide of society’s widespread acceptance of tobacco.

Joseph acknowledges the losses within the century and complacancy of all areas of society and the government. Cigarettes were defended by doctors, given out in airplanes and sponsored basketball games. To folks like Joseph and myself, that is unbelievable.

Kennedy recognizes the scientists and activists who led this cause. These wins were made by us and our predecessors.  As a result of the struggles and successes, for Joseph and my generation, smoking is not allowed in as many public spaces, it’s universally seen as unhealthy and just isn’t as cool anymore. We have generations of advocates, and some of you reading this, to thank!

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