Does science have a role to play in affecting public policy decisions? Of course it does!

To think otherwise is naive and suggests that science should have no utility. Many scientific findings have important public policy implications. It is not the duty of the scientist to make policy decisions. However, it is the scientist’s duty to make sure that the information necessary for intelligent public policy-making is available to those who do.

In June, when we released to the public, our data about the effects of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), we acknowledged we were doing so because the information was relevant to the debate regarding a clean indoor air bill then under consideration and since passed overwhelmingly by the New York State Legislature. Findings related to the dangers of exposure to tobacco smoke or, in the case of my study, to the ubiquity of such exposure, had considerable bearing on...

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