Government reports, such as the federal EPA risk assessment of passive smoking, are heavily relied upon to support smoking restrictions. However, efforts by the tobacco industry, led to the federal risk assessment being "vacated" in July 1998. The California risk assessment, completed in 1997, may now play an important role in smoking restriction debates. This study examines the arguments presented in public commentary provided during the risk assessment process. We coded commentaries on the final draft that referred to the chapters on respiratory, carcinogenic and cardiovascular effects. Of the 29 commentaries, 79% were submitted by those critical of the risk assessment and 21% by those in support. Of the 19 commentaries coded thus far, 54% of those critical were from the tobacco industry, 31% were from private citizens and 15% were from consulting organizations. In comparison, the 6 supportive commentaries were sent by a variety of different organizations, including health professionals' organizations (2/6) and non-smokers' lay organizations (1/6). Initial findings show that almost all commentaries (84%) emphasized scientific arguments and science evaluation criteria. Other arguments presented by those critical include procedural (31%) and issues of past criticisms not being addressed (46%). Those in support addressed political (17%) and ventilation (17%) arguments. To oppose the California risk assessment, the tobacco industry appears to be using similar arguments as it did to oppose the federal risk assessment. Further analysis of these arguments could enable public health advocates anticipate and prevent successful legal action by the tobacco industry against the California risk assessment.
Learning Objectives: 1. Describe three main issues covered in the California EPA risk assessment. 2. List some of the tobacco industry's arguments against the risk assessment. 3. List future steps that public health advocates can take to support reports like the risk assessment
Keywords: Risk Assessment, Tobacco
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.
The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA