California Dept of Public Health releases video summing up and celebrating 30 years of tobacco control progress

The California Department of Public Health recently released this video, “California Tobacco Control Program, “Celebrating 30 Years Of Health Justice,” describing the Program’s philosophy, messaging, evolution. It started being “the sharp end of the spear” 30 years ago by confronting — and continuing to confront — the tobacco companies and by focusing on reinforcing the nonsmoking norm and focusing of policy change. It also focused on industry targeting of minority groups long before there was widespread appreciation of health disparities as an issue.

And, it’s still doing it, with cutting edge work on e-cigarettes.

The video includes many people who have been with the program from the beginning as well as new leaders. It’s worth 16 minutes to watch.

Spoiler alert: I’m in it. The people and content are great. The elevator music in the background is odd given the Program’s consistent hard edges.

Published by Stanton Glantz

Stanton Glantz is a retired Professor of Medicine who served on the University of California San Francisco faculty for 45 years. He conducts research on tobacco and cannabis control and cardiovascular disease/

2 thoughts on “California Dept of Public Health releases video summing up and celebrating 30 years of tobacco control progress

  1. The video is a nice review of important history in tobacco control…the program was the first to de-normalize the selling of cigarettes which was an enormous success. However, I’m not sure California’s shift to fight vaping like it is big tobacco is the right way to go. A more nuanced approach which reflect different product risks to reflect the evolution of the market would at least acknowledge that many smokers have responded to the denormalization efforts by giving up cigarettes with vaping as better alternative. No one disagrees with the problem of youth vaping and irresponsible marketing of vape products. But, how are we helping addicted smokers, many of whom have used vaping as a way to escape their life threatening addiction to cigarettes?


    1. Your comment assumes that e-cigarettes benefit adult smokers. The evidence consistently shows that e-cigarettes as consumer products are beneficial for established smokers. As the video points out, California was early to recognize that this is not the case.

      The evidence continue to accumulate that e-cigarettes when used as consumer products keep smokers smoking and that in terms of heart and lung disease are about as dangerous as cigarettes. (The evidence on cancer is just starting to come in, but is troubling.)

      As the video clearly states at the end, California was ahead of the curve on the e-cigarette issue and has mounted a serious campaign to reduce e-cigarette use.


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