The Take Down: Valerie Yerger | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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In Conversation with Dr. Valerie Yerger

In this edition of the Take Down, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids’ Camille Sanchez interviews Dr. Valerie Yerger. Dr. Yerger is a founding member of the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), a licensed naturopathic doctor, a Professor in Health Policy at the University of California, San Francisco, and a leading tobacco researcher.

Dr. Yerger’s research has been instrumental in revealing the tobacco industry’s targeting of Black Americans, especially with menthol cigarettes. Her work also demonstrates the tobacco-related health disparities faced by Black Americans and other marginalized communities – and rightly frames this as a social justice issue that must be addressed through appropriate public health policies.

One year ago, the FDA proposed rules to eliminate menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. As the public health community pushes the FDA to issue final rules, we spoke with Dr. Yerger about the advocacy and research that brought us here, the toll of tobacco use on Black communities, the need for culturally-tailored resources to help people quit, and what advocates can do to make a difference in the fight for a tobacco-free future.


It was very important for us to come together – to maintain that vision – and make sure that we got the information that we had about the role of the tobacco industry out to the community.