In 1990, the Board of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation selected Dr. Steven Schroeder to serve as the Foundation’s president, understanding clearly that Dr. Schroeder was interested in taking the Foundation in the direction of working on substance abuse problems. At the time, no American foundations were involved in the fields of tobacco policy or research. In fact, the loudest voice in the public health debate over tobacco was that of the Tobacco Institute, an organization created by the tobacco companies to communicate their message to the news media and the public. There were many risks associated with entering the field, especially considering the enormous political heft of the tobacco industry. However, the magnitude of the health risks associated with tobacco made it a tough issue to ignore.
Between 1991 and 2003, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation spent approximately $408 million on a wide range of tobacco-related programs. The Foundation’s primary aims have been to reduce the incidence of youth smoking, to publicize the negative health effects of tobacco use, and to help addicted smokers quit using tobacco. . . .
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