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Tobacco & Nicotine: Public Health, Science, Policy, and Law


This course provides a strong foundation in the history of smoking and other tobacco and nicotine use; the individual and public health impact; tobacco use prevalence trends in adults, youth and key subpopulations; and how cigarette smoking came to be, and remains to this day, the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and globally, despite the fact that tobacco control efforts have collectively constituted one of the most successful public health endeavors in our history.

The course also explores the role of the tobacco industry in the epidemic, as well as the pursuit of accountability and industry behavior change through legal action; the rapidly evolving tobacco and nicotine product marketplace; the unique and ever-changing regulatory and other policy challenges that have emerged; and the implications of this rapid change for public health today and in the future.

Hosted by lead instructor Cliff Douglas, formerly of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, the course features 18 experts in a range of tobacco control areas and issues. Through a series of lectures, interviews, readings, and assessments, the course tells the story of smoking and tobacco and nicotine product use, focusing on the specific - but not unique - story of the U.S., while also presenting important information and insights from elsewhere in the world.

The content of this course is solely the responsibility of the authors and contributors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NIH or the Food and Drug Administration.

Cliff Douglas, the lead instructor for this course, was, throughout the entire period of the development of the course and at the time of its launch (May 2023), the Director of the University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network (UMTRN), as well as a Co-investigator with the Center for the Assessment of Tobacco Regulations (CAsToR) at the University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and the BC Cancer Research Institute.

As of October 2023, he released his affiliations with UMTRN and CAsToR and is now the President and Chief Executive Officer of Global Action to End Smoking. The content of this course was not affected by his new role, nor will Mr. Douglas receive any revenue from this course at any point.





4 weeks



U-M Credit Eligible



  • Cliff Douglas

    Adjunct Professor; Director, University of Michigan Tobacco Research Network

    School of Public Health