David T. Sweanor J.D is an international public health advocate who has worked on global tobacco and health policy issues since 1983. He was the first lawyer in the world to work fulltime on these issues. His work on tobacco/nicotine has included a wide range of measures within the four broad categories of interventions used to reduce any cause of death, injury or disease – reducing uptake of a dangerous activity, facilitating cessation by those engaging in it, protecting third parties from harm and reducing risks for those who continue to engage in the activity.
He played a key role in the adoption of tobacco taxation as a health policy strategy, in removing smoking from airlines and other public spaces, obtaining bans on cigarette advertising and promotion, reducing the points of sale of cigarettes, achieving the first graphic health messages on cigarette packs, and numerous other precedents. He also played a key role in major civil racketeering lawsuits against global cigarette companies in courts of the United States.
David has long been in global demand for his expertise on issues of tobacco harm reduction, regulation, economics and analysis of the tobacco industry. He has worked with entities such as the World Health Organization, World Bank, the International Union Against Cancer, the Pan American Health Organization and many national and regional bodies.
He maintains financial independence on all issues pertaining to tobacco and nicotine, including from any entity in the snus, smokeless tobacco, cigarette, e-cig, vapor, pharmaceutical industries, as well as anti-tobacco groups and abstinence-only funding bodies and regulatory agencies.
David is Chair of the Advisory Board, Centre for Health Law, Policy & Ethics, University of Ottawa. https://commonlaw.uottawa.ca/health-law/. Some of his other professional affiliations include: Legal Counsel, Non-Smokers’ Rights Association,1983-2005, and being an international advisor to the Boston University School of Public Health. Among other awards, he is a recipient of ‘Public Health Hero’ lifetime achievement award from the Pan-American Health Organization, and of Ottawa’s Outstanding Individual Philanthropist Award.
He has visited over 75 countries, spoken at a great many international conferences across all inhabited continents, testified before committees of both houses of the US Congress and many other legislative bodies around the world, and has a long history of interviews with major media. He is an author of dozens of peer reviewed papers, including publications in the New England Journal of Medicine and the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Through his philanthropic work David funds an eclectic list of activities in an ongoing, sometimes quixotic, effort to make a better world.