Bulletin News

Nation’s top tobacco watchdog to speak


Brian King, director of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP), will discuss the center’s efforts to implement tobacco regulations and future challenges on Tuesday, April 4, at SUNY Cortland.

King, the lead author of the Center for Disease Control’s 2014 guide to best practices for comprehensive tobacco control programs, will present “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Tobacco Product Regulation: Promise and Peril in an Increasingly Complex Landscape” at 5 p.m. in Old Main Brown Auditorium.

The lecture is free and open to the public. Sponsored by the university’s Health Department as its 15th Charles N. Poskanzer Lecture, the discussion will be live streamed.

Brian King

King, who was appointed to his current position last July, is responsible for assuring that the CTP accomplishes its public health goals and for implementing the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which gives the FDA the power to regulate the tobacco industry.

He builds on the federal government’s past success with reducing tobacco use. In the past 55 years, U.S. adult cigarette smoking has declined considerably, recorded at 12.5% in 2020.

“In the 13 years since the landmark Tobacco Control Act was signed into law, CTP has done significant work to effectively regulate a complex and rapidly changing tobacco product landscape,” King said.

“We also have a tremendous opportunity to create meaningful change for populations that have been disproportionately affected by tobacco use,” he said. “The FDA is uniquely positioned to address tobacco-related health disparities in several impactful ways, now and in the coming years, so that tobacco-related disease and death are a part of America’s past, not America’s future, for all populations.”

The SUNY Cortland campus has been tobacco and nicotine free for the last decade and was one of the first SUNY campuses to prohibit use of the substances.

On March 3, campus community members gathered to celebrate SUNY Cortland's 10 years of tobacco-free policy.

King has worked for nearly two decades to provide sound scientific evidence to inform tobacco control policy and to effectively communicate this information to key stakeholders, including decision makers, the news media and the public.

Prior to joining the FDA, he served as the deputy director for research translation in CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health, and more recently as the executive editor of CDC’s Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report Series. He is the author of more than 200 scientific journal articles related to tobacco prevention and control and served as senior associate editor for multiple U.S. Surgeon General’s Reports on tobacco.

 He holds a Ph.D. and M.P.H. in epidemiology from the University at Buffalo.

The event is supported by the Charles N. Poskanzer Fund, an endowment named in honor of the late SUNY Distinguished Service Professor emeritus who taught in the university’s Health Department for 40 years and died in 2010. Established through the Cortland College Foundation, the annual lecture brings national leaders in public and community health to campus to meet with students and faculty and to deliver a public lecture on a current public health issue.

For more information, contact Maggie Divita, SUNY Cortland professor of health and graduate coordinator, at 607-753-2987.

Graphic image courtesy of Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke from Pixabay