57 Louis Pasteur St.
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa
Special Lecturer, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Nottingham
David received an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1978, his law degree from the University of Toronto in 1981, and was called to the bar of the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1983. Since that time he has worked in public health efforts, specializing in tobacco issues and focusing on how legal measures can greatly impact upon population health. As part of that work, and to raise a family and pursue his interest in outdoor activities, he moved to Ottawa in 1989.
He has played a key role in Canadian efforts on, among other things, tobacco taxation, advertising restrictions, package labelling, environmental tobacco smoke, smoking cessation, litigation and product regulation. During the time of his active involvement in successfully advocating for public policy changes in Canada per capita cigarette consumption in the country declined by roughly 60%, much of which can be directly tied to policy interventions. The organization where he did most of his Canadian work in his capacity as counsel, the Non-Smokers’ Rights Association, received significant international recognition for many ground-breaking public health advances.
David has also been active on a similar range of global issues, working with bodies such as the International Union Against Cancer, World Health Organization, World Bank, Pan American Health Organization and numerous governments, foundations, law firms, companies making smoking cessation products and national non-governmental organizations.
In pursuing his primary interest in the interaction of law and economics as a determinant of public health, he has spent much time in recent years on tax policy, contraband tobacco, litigation strategies, the provision of tobacco dependence treatment products and the changing landscape of harm reduction products. Anticipated future death rates from cigarette smoking can be reduced through prevention of onset, protection of non-smokers from environmental tobacco smoke, cessation of smoking and substitution of less toxic alternative products for those who are not ready, willing and able to quit. As those last two areas of interventions are currently the most controversial (but likely also the most effective) ones currently available to counter smoking’s toll, they are now David’s favourite topics. This involves efforts to apply rational public policies that recognize that there is much more that can be done to facilitate smoking cessation. It also involves recognizing that there are a vast range of risks associated with nicotine intake depending upon the delivery system, that many alternative nicotine products have comparatively minor risks, and that harm reduction principles have enormous potential to transform the epidemic of tobacco-caused death and disease.
He has been widely published in peer-reviewed scientific journals as well as having authored work for major national and international health and social service organizations. He has spoken at conferences in numerous cities around the world, and has been a frequent guest on major media in Canada and other countries. He has 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.
David lives in Ottawa with his psychiatrist wife Linda, has two adult children, and spends much of his time bicycling, jogging, gardening and reading.