Bridging the Gap between Science and Law: The Example of Tobacco Regulatory Science
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 January 2021
In the 20th century, public health was responsible for most of the 30-year increase in average life expectancy in the United States.1 Most of the significant advances in public health (e.g., vaccinations, water fluoridation) required the combined effort of scientists and attorneys. Scientists identified public health threats and the means of controlling them, but attorneys and policymakers helped convert those scientific discoveries into laws that could change the behavior of industries or individuals at a population level. In tobacco control, public health scientists made the groundbreaking discovery that smoking caused lung cancer, but attorneys and policymakers developed and implemented the policies and litigation strategies that helped reduce smoking rates by more than half over the past 50 years.
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