Role of the Surgeon General's reports in forming public policy
David Burns, MD, Department of Medicine, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of California at San Diego, 1545 Hotel Circle So, Suite 310, San Diego, CA 92108
The U.S. Surgeon General has produced a series of reports on the scientific evidence defining the risks of smoking and the methods by which tobacco use can be reduced. These reports have been useful in forming public policy in the U.S., and this model of data synthesis and scientific consensus formation may be useful in other countries attempting to establish effective, evidence based tobacco control programs. Examples from the Surgeon General's report series will be examined to demonstrate the utility of this process in providing a foundation for public policy decisions and the critical components of this approach will be examined.