Who’s Not Here? – Who should we ensure sits at the tobacco public health table?

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

Dr. Phillip Gardinier of Nicotine Dependence & Policy Research at the University of California presented on the “FDA Involvement of Stakeholders in the Regulatory Process: Still Time to Remedy the Situation.”

He spoke about the communities that are left out of the tobacco control movement, policies, research and debate on tobacco control, and the need to reach out to those left out. We of course know that those left out are low-SES people, communities of color and us (the LGBT communities) which we applaud Dr. Gardinier for clearly pointing out.

For example since NAATPN and communities of color weren’t included in policy discussions of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, menthol was not restricted in that Act.

The question here is if all stakeholders are equal? And the answer is no since tobacco representatives are invited to the table more than disparity groups despite their history of lies and deceit and violation of laws.

So what needs to be done?

We need an Office of Health Disparities – To ensure voices are always heard and better position against tobacco industry and coordinate with the Office of Minority Health. CTP is to be applauded for reaching out to the most affected groups. Most importantly, communities experiences tobacco disparities and traditionally left out of the conversation, should be included. If the tobacco industry is brought up, but not minority groups, they win as they are still selling their products to minority groups.

As a result of this presentation, it’s ever more clear that we’re fortunate to be here as the LGBT Network and happy to represent our communities and report this important information and collaborations to all of you.

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