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Release: Nov. 11, 2002

UI hosts Global Tobacco Epidemic Conference Nov. 15 -17

Tobacco use is associated with 4,900 deaths in Iowa each year. This situation is not unique to Iowa, but has become a world-wide problem, say organizers of the 11th annual Global Health Studies Conference that focuses on "The Global Tobacco Epidemic -- Tobacco Control in an International Context."

This three-day conference takes place at the Sheraton Hotel, Iowa City, from Nov. 15-17 and will bring leading scholars in the field from all over the world to discuss this crisis and look at approaches to tobacco control world-wide.

This conference is open to the public. For registration, visit or contact Lesli Lanning at (319) 335 2823 or

"People are dying totally unnecessarily," said Christopher Squier, PhD, associate dean at the UI Dental Research Center and one of the organizers of the conference.

A recent ordinance that bans smoking at restaurants in Iowa City was met by a discreet counter campaign by tobacco firms, he said.

"The industry is working against us very consistently and very subtly, so we will never have a representative from a tobacco firm come into town and complain," Squier said. "Instead, they do it through surrogate organizations like 'hospitality associations' and the same erroneous data about how much business will be hurt by going smoke-free always turns up at city council hearings."

The main speakers at the conference include: Stanton Glantz, Ph.D, professor of medicine, University of San Francisco; Thomas Novotny, M.D., M.P.H., Center for Disease Control; and Hana Sovinova, Ph.D., Public Health Institute (Prague). Kenneth E. Warner, Ph.D, Avedis Donabedian Distinguished University Professor of Public Health, University of Michigan, is considered a world authority on the role of economic factors, such as cost and taxation, in tobacco control. He will receive the prestigious Richard and Barbara Hansen Leadership Award from UI College of Public Health for his achievements.

The conference will bring together UI students, faculty, local politicians and representatives from Tobacco Free Iowa, the Tobacco Control Division of the Iowa Department of Public Health, the American Medical Association SmokeFree States initiative and the American Cancer Society. Students will have the opportunity to meet speakers during break out sessions, and this will allow for more in-depth and intimate discussions.

The Global Health Studies Conference is sponsored by The University of Iowa, International Programs, Global Health Studies Program, The College of Public Health, and the National Resource Center for International Studies.