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O'Neill Institute Welcomes Eric Lindblom as New Director for Tobacco Control and Food and Drug Law

The O’Neill Institute for National & Global Health Law is pleased to announce that Eric Lindblom will be joining the Institute as its new Director for Tobacco Control and Food and Drug Law.

Mr. Lindblom is a former Director of the FDA Center for Tobacco Products Office of Policy and long-time tobacco control legal and policy expert. Prior to starting at FDA in 2011, he worked for a dozen years at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, becoming the Campaign’s General Counsel and Director for Policy Research. Before that, Mr. Lindblom worked as an independent policy analyst and writer, as a deputy special assistant to the secretary on homelessness at the Department of Veterans Affairs, as a lawyer and litigator, and as a legislative assistant for a member of the U.S. Congress. Mr. Lindblom previously served as a Senior Scholar at the O’Neill Institute, while on a special detail from the FDA Center for Tobacco Products from the fall of 2014 through the summer of 2016; and he just recently left federal service.

Back at the O’Neill Institute as a Director, Mr. Lindblom will continue working on both domestic and international tobacco control matters and will also bring his related legal, economic, and policy expertise to bear on questions and projects relating to the public health regulation of other products, such as foods, legalized cannabis, alcohol, soda and other beverages, and medical drugs. In particular, we expect that both tobacco and non-tobacco projects at the O’Neill Institute will take full advantage of Mr. Lindblom’s special skills and experience relating to such topics as regulating product marketing (and, in the U.S., related corporate free speech issues), corporate political and economic influence, regulatory cost-benefit analyses, and drafting public health regulations and legislation to implement constructive policies effectively and protect them from legal challenges.

Among other projects, Mr. Lindblom will work with tobacco control and other public health researchers to help provide the legal and policy contexts for their research and for related proposals, projects and publications. Through doing this kind of work previously, Mr. Lindblom has helped researchers to design and administer their research proposals and projects so that they are as policy-relevant and useful as possible, and has helped to ensure that the researchers’ publications of their findings present their policy relevance and implications clearly and convincingly.

Through the O’Neill Institute and working with other partners, Mr. Lindblom will also be convening diverse groups of relevant experts to consider key tobacco control and other public health questions and strategies and develop reports and other publications presenting the related consensus answers, analyses, and recommendations. Similarly, Eric will be helping to coordinate presentations by various speakers and panels at the law school and other appropriate Georgetown University forums on key tobacco control and other public health legal and policy issues -- both as stand-alone presentations or as part of broader conferences sponsored by the O’Neill Institute and various partners from both inside and outside the University. When previously on detail to the O’Neill Institute, Mr. Lindblom helped organize expert meetings relating to the possibility of bringing criminal charges against cigarette companies and their executives, and to how cannabis products could be regulated most effectively, consistently with the goals of legalization, to minimize public health harms and maximize public health benefits in those countries and states that choose to legalize.

When previously on detail to the O’Neill Institute, Mr. Lindblom also authored an O’Neill Institute working paper on the viability of minimizing nicotine levels in all cigarettes and similarly smoked tobacco products and the nuts and bolts of how different countries could implement such a strategy. [Filling in the Blanks on Reducing Tobacco Product Addictiveness in the FCTC Partial Guidelines for Articles 9 & 10.] He also published a cutting edge analysis of how e-cigarettes could be regulated, in any country, both to minimize any related harms they might cause (e.g., by increasing youth use or overall nicotine addiction) while still securing all the possible benefits they might product (e.g., by helping to reduce smoking), and on how the FDA could implement such a strategy in the USA under its existing legal authorities and constraints [Effectively Regulating E-Cigarettes and Their Advertising and the First Amendment, Food and Drug Law Journal 70(1): 57-94, March, 2015.] Eric also has an upcoming publication on the legal viability of cigarette and other tobacco product inserts or onserts as a way FDA could better inform smokers about the product harms and risks, provide instructions for use, or help smokers quit. [Lindblom, Berman, Thrasher, “FDA-Required Tobacco Product Inserts & Onserts And the First Amendment,” Food and Drug Law Journal (in press).] We are sure that Mr. Lindblom will continue to author and co-author such thoughtful, innovative, and constructive publications relating to public health law and policy as the new O’Neill Institute Director for Tobacco Control and Food and Drug Law.

Eric Lindblom has a J.D. from Harvard Law School (cum laude) and a BA in Political Science from Yale University (cum laude with distinction in the major).

Those interested in possibly working with Mr. Lindblom or the O’Neill Institute in the future on tobacco control or other food and drug law or policy issues can reach him at 202-661-6688 or

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.