“There is no substitute for having people sitting together in a room, face to face.” said Ellen Vargyas, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Truth Initiative, as she discussed recent strategic meetings with the leading minds on tobacco control from around the country. These meetings were hosted by the Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, a program of the Public Health Law Center.
“I have personally attended two meetings, which have been extremely valuable in bringing people together who might not normally be in touch with each other,” she said. “Having those honest and tough discussions about what can work, what won’t work, the pitfalls, and the opportunities, is of enormous value.”
The Public Health Law Center has been bringing together researchers, advocates, attorneys, and public health departments with local, state, and national perspectives on a number of tobacco control issues, such as menthol sales restrictions and other retail policies.
“There are some complex legal issues involved,” Vargyas said. “There are questions about which provisions are effective, how to ensure compliance; there are a whole basket of important issues. The Consortium attorneys are always a pleasure to work with, and always open to feedback.”
Truth Initiative is pioneering anti-tobacco public education with its truth® campaign, and its youth engagement programs supporting populations at high risk of using tobacco. Truth Initiative also conducts very sophisticated scientific research and policy studies as part of its mission, and is an important contributor to these national meetings with its ability to examine problems and the efficacy of potential solutions.
“The Public Health Law Center has structured its meetings in a very effective way, with presentations and case studies, and people have given some real thought about these complicated issues,” Vargyas said. “You could not ask for better collaborators.”
“We salute the Consortium for taking this leadership role of bringing people together, and then following up. It’s of huge value to the tobacco control community.”