ETSU Faculty Member Authors New Book on Policies Behind Global Tobacco Control

JOHNSON CITY - A new book co-authored by a faculty member in East Tennessee State University's College of Public Health examines the gap that exists between global public policy toward regulating tobacco use and the threats to public health that arise from smoking.

Dr. Hadii Mamudu, an assistant professor in ETSU's Department of Health Services Management and Policy, researched and wrote "Global Tobacco Control: Power Policy, Governance and Transfer," with Drs. Paul Cairney and Donley T. Studlar.

"The history of tobacco control policy, in the United States and globally, is fascinating because change has only been gradual, even though we've been aware of the dangers of smoking for decades," Mamudu said. "Smoking is the number one preventable cause of death and disease in the world, as it is responsible for about 6 million deaths each year. But government policies regulating tobacco use have been slow to catch up with that fact."

In "Global Tobacco Control," Mamudu and his co-authors highlight the divide between policies that regulate and curb smoking in high-income countries – including the United States – and very limited controls in low- and medium-income countries. The authors observed a gap of about 20-30 years in the identification of the problem of tobacco use and governmental action to curb it.

"There has been significant change in the political landscape and tobacco policies in the United States, because the tobacco officials who used to have considerable influence with legislators are no longer the dominant insiders," Mamudu said. "Increasingly, the voices of public health advocates are being heard now, and tobacco officials have to compete with these advocates for influence."

Tobacco companies in the United States and Great Britain still maintain powerful global influence, Mamudu said. Even as American tobacco growing has diminished, tobacco companies based here have shifted production and consumer marketing to smaller countries with poorer economies, Mamudu noted.

 "We have come a long way with tobacco control policy in the United States by cutting consumption by more than half since the 1970s," Mamudu said, "but many of the problems associated with tobacco use have been effectively transferred to other countries."

Co-author Cairney is head of the Department of Politics and International Relations at the University of Aberdeen, United Kingdom, and Studlar is a professor of political science at West Virginia University.

"Global Tobacco Control" is published by Palgrave Macmillan, which is on the Web at www.palgrave.com.