Tobacco Use in the Military: A Historical Perspective

Video Length | 44:01

Recorded | November 2023

Podcast Description

In this Learning Lab episode, host Kathleen Bates sits down with Dr. Joel Dunnington, former professor of Diagnostic Radiology at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center to discuss the deceptive tactics the tobacco industry used to sabotage the U.S. military into accepting the use of tobacco products as a part of their culture. In addition, revealing how the military is left paying for the detrimental health effects tobacco use causes as well as prevention efforts that better support tobacco-free living on military bases.

Expert Guest

Dr. Joel Dunnington, MD

Dr. Joel Dunnington, MD

Dr. Dunnington retired in September 2014 as a professor of Diagnostic Radiology at U.T. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where he dedicated 25 years to the academia. His interest in tobacco control started as a medical student when he attended a lecture by Alan Blum, M.D., the founder ...of DOC, at the American Medical Student Association Convention in 1978. His main tobacco control activities included the American Medical Association and Texas Medical Association (TMA).

Dr. Dunnington spent thirteen years on the Texas Medical Association’s Council on Public Health and 6 years on the Cancer Committee, serving as Chair, with a principal focus on tobacco control. During the mid to late 90’s, Dr. Dunnington was the chief tobacco consultant with the Texas Attorney General’s Office on the Texas Tobacco Lawsuit and chaired numerous task forces and organizations. These included the TMA Task Force on Tobacco, the Texas Interagency Council on Smoking or Health, the Great American Smokeout, and the Tobacco Free Texas Newsletter. He was also appointed to the Houston Metro Board of Directors and served as the President of the Houston Metro ACS focusing on tobacco control and prevention.

In 2004 he won the Elkins Faculty Achievement Award for Prevention from MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Dunnington is also the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas American Cancer Society for Tobacco Control. In 2011, he received the Health Leader in Medicine award from the Texas Medical Association Foundation for his work in public health, especially tobacco control.

Dr. Dunnington has collaborated with Cancer Prevention researchers at MD Anderson, consulted with tobacco activists across the globe, presented his wealth of knowledge to students ranging from second grade to post-graduate medical school, and has worked with community groups and coalitions concerning their efforts in tobacco control. Since 1989, he has served as a member of Smokefree Texas working to pass smokefree laws across the state.

Currently, Dr. Dunnington serves as a board member for Americans for Nonsmokers’ Rights as well as Secretary of the Board.


Learning Lab Host

Kathleen Bates

Kathleen Bates, MS

Kathleen Bates is the Youth Initiatives Program Manager at the Texas School Safety Center, located at Texas State University. Kathleen is dedicated to educating and empowering people of all ages to support healthy communities and has actively engaged in prevention work since graduating...with her bachelor’s in 2012. Her background comes from the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness where the love of working with youth and communities truly flourished. Kathleen holds two degrees, a Bachelor of Science specializing in community health from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a Master of Science in public health education and promotion from Texas State University.

Podcast Available On

Podcast Produced By: Community Prevention Program, Youth & Community Initiatives Division

Additional Resources