Honors Tobacco Foe
UCSF professor Stanton Glantz is a winner of the 2000
Common Cause Public Service Achievement Award for his "tireless and tenacious"
efforts to regulate tobacco.
The annual award recognizes individuals "who by force of imagination, initiative
and perseverance have made outstanding contributions to the public interest in the areas
of government performance and integrity."
Common Cause, a nonprofit, nonpartisan citizen's lobbying organization promoting open,
honest and accountable government, praised Glantz, "whose tireless work to expose the
power and influence of big tobacco on our health and on our political system, has
fundamentally informed the debate over the biggest public health issue of our time."
Glantz and four other advocates received the award last Friday (June 23) at a ceremony
in Washington, DC. "Actually after all the awards I've received, this was one of the
most fun. I met a really cool group of people, including the 90-year-old woman who walked
across America for campaign finance reform," said Glantz yesterday.
Glantz himself first began working on campaign finance reform, volunteering for Common
Cause as a graduate student at Stanford University in the early 1970s. He was working for
the passage of the Fair Political Practices Act and was asked to use statistics to analyze
the data. For Glantz, who now teaches an introductory course in statistics at UCSF, that
work became the basis for his interest in analyzing how tobacco industry campaign
contributions influence politicians today. "Not only does academics effect politics,
but it works the other way around, too."
On the day Glantz accepted his award, UC attorney Christopher Patti was in a state
court of appeals defending his right to conduct research. This case, appealed by
Californians for Scientific Integrity, a group associated with the tobacco industry-funded
National Smokers Alliance, claims that Glantz had used public funds to conduct politically
motivated research -- specifically, research on smoke-free restaurant laws. A decision is
Tobacco industry-funded groups have engaged in extensive public relations campaigns to
discredit Glantz and his research. So far, Patti has been undefeated representing Glantz
and the University's academic freedom.
A scientist in the Cardiovascular Research Institute and a member of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, Glantz has had several highlights as he reflects on his 25-year
career at UCSF.
Together with colleague William Parmley, they first reported that levels of secondhand
smoke are enough to significantly damage the cardiovascular system. "We built the
case that second-hand smoke kills over ten times the people who die of lung cancer,"
A major turning point in his fight for public health came in 1994, when he received
confidential internal Brown & Willamson Tobacco Corporation documents that contained
scientific information regarding the damaging health effects of cigarette smoking and the
industry's early knowledge of the addictive nature of nicotine, despite its denials. Brown
& Willamson, the third largest tobacco company, unsuccessfully sued the University to
prevent publication of the documents. The Tobacco Control Archives, an online resource of
the UCSF Library/Center for Knowledge Management, now includes 100,000 pages, including
the publication of the case that rid America of "Joe Camel."
Now Glantz and a team at the UCSF library are working to make an additional 40 million
pages of previously secret tobacco industry documents accessible on the Web. Glantz came
to UCSF in 1975 after earning a master's of science and PhD from Stanford University. The
former Eagle Scout has received dozens of awards, including the Gleitsman Foundation's
1998 Citizen Activist Award, an honor he accepted at the White House, and the 1997
Chancellor's Award for Public Service.
Glantz and colleagues' have authored two books, "The Cigarette Papers," which
depicts the discrepancy between the industry's public position on the health effects of
smoking and the results of its own research, and "Tobacco War," which details
the efforts of public health advocates to institute tobacco controls in California.
Other winners of Common Cause's 2000 public service achievement award this year are
John Bonifaz, director of the National Voting Rights Institute, JoAnne Chasnow, executive
director of Human SERVE Campaign, Doris Haddock, an activist, Campaign Finance Reform, and
Frank Wilkinson, executive director, First Amendment Foundation.
UC Press - Tobacco
UCSF Library - Tobacco