Speaker Profiles

David Sweanor

David Sweanor

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Honorary (Consultant) Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham

David is an adjunct professor of law, and chair of the advisory committee for the Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, at the University of Ottawa, and Honorary (Consultant) Assistant Professor, University of Nottingham.

He helped spearhead the development of world-leading tobacco control initiatives in Canada starting in the early 1980s, first as counsel to the Non-Smokers Rights Association and then as an independent consultant. His global work has included litigation against cigarette companies and assistance to the World Bank and World Health Organization.

His interest has focused on the interaction of law and economics as a determinant of public health. He has worked on tax policy, contraband tobacco, litigation strategies, risk communication and the provision of less hazardous alternatives to existing products. Since many alternative nicotine products have comparatively minor risks, risk reduction principles that have been applied very widely and very successfully on other issues have enormous potential to tremendously reduce the current global epidemic of smoking-caused death and disease.

He has been widely published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, including the New England Journal of Medicine and JAMA, testified before parliamentary committees in Canada and elsewhere, and before both Senate and House committees in the United States. He has received various awards for his work, including a ‘Public Health Hero’ lifetime achievement award from the Pan-American Health Organization.

His work, both personally and through philanthropic funding, extends to a wide range of other issues, including international development, healthy cities, nutrition, prison reform, illicit drugs, human rights, education and physical activity. In November 2016, he was the recipient of Ottawa’s Outstanding Individual Philanthropist award.

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