Renewed trust in public health agencies lies in a return to science, not special interests



Among the direst casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic is Americans’ trust in public health authorities. According to a Pew Research poll, prior to the pandemic more than three-quarters of adults rated “public health officials – such as those at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” as doing an excellent or good job. Now just a little over half rate them so highly. Among some groups, it’s far lower. As new CDC Director Mandy Cohen has acknowledged, “Trust is easily broken and, as folks know, trust takes time to rebuild.” 

For citizens to trust the public health establishment, they must have confidence that these institutions are guided by science, free of political or social agendas. Yet on countless issues – even the most critical to public health – federal health agencies appear to be failing this challenge.

Take the significant public health issue of youth tobacco use. CDC’s annual National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) is a key input for informing federal regulators’ tobacco-related policy agenda. The voluntary survey is administered to middle and high school students through their schools “to provide national data on long-term, intermediate, and short-term indicators key to the design, implementation, and evaluation of comprehensive tobacco prevention and control programs.” Why then, did the 2023 survey ask kids if they are transgender? How does it further tobacco regulation to know kids’ sexual orientation, or if they’ve felt discriminated against because of their race?

Furthermore, the CDC may be offering inappropriate financial incentives to underage NYTS participants, potentially influencing the integrity and accuracy of responses. Because “[t]obacco research studies with adolescents report that recruiting smokers to participate is substantially more difficult than recruiting nonsmokers,” the CDC said, “we propose to offer a $50 incentive to boost participation in the cognitive interviews among youth.”

Given that eventual Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation of tobacco products is driven by NYTS results, the ethical and methodological implications of paying kids to say they smoke are far reaching.

Like the CDC’s questionable approach on the NYTS, the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) has used its mandate to reduce youth tobacco use in ways even the courts have found incompatible with sound science. For instance, in July a federal judge struck down the FDA’s attempted regulation of premium cigars because of the agency’s misrepresentation of data on the prevalence of youth cigar smoking.

Now the FDA is preparing to finalize a ban on menthol products even as evidence mounts that such bans can increase cigarette sales and use, building much of its case on reducing youth tobacco addiction.

A Yale School of Public Health study partly funded by the FDA found that banning menthol e-cigarettes increased the sale of regular cigarettes and that 71 percent of the increased cigarette sales were non-menthol, “suggesting that restrictions on menthol cigarettes would not substantially reduce sales.”

Concerned the ban “would simply create a black market for these products,” Congressionalinvestigators cited real world state experiments: After California’s 2022 ban, “a study found that roughly one in five cigarettes smoked were menthols even six months later, of which 27.6 percent were imported.” Clearly, illicit smugglers (read: China and Mexican drug cartels) will fill the void created by a ban.

Ironically, the scientific integrity issues plaguing the administration’s proposed ban may be overshadowed by social justice concerns. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network has come out against the proposed rule, saying the ban targets “black adult smokers” and could lead to incidents like Eric Garner’s death while police were arresting him for selling “loose, untaxed cigarettes.”

Is the FDA staffed by anti-tobacco zealots who ignore studies they themselves funded? Or are special interests helping drive the agency’s crusade? CTP is 100 percent funded by user fees. Yet user fees are a black box of accountability. Protect the Public’s Trust has been forced to sue the agency for information about how the CTP – as well as its sister agencies at the FDA focused on other important health issues like women’s health –spends these fees.

If the public can’t rely on public health authorities to make decisions based on sound science for the most serious and high-profile issues, what confidence can it have in the countless other decisions and advice it renders every day? Americans need to be able to trust the actions and pronouncements of public health authorities. For that to happen, sound science can’t be substituted for the sake of advancing a special interest agenda.

Michael Chamberlain is Director of Protect the Public’s Trust.


  1. They are ignorant and disrespectful of the US Constitution. They know nothing at all about the US Constitution. Since many health agencies are agents of foreign not American hierarchies corporations they want the Us Constitution beneath their red carpets as part of foreign UN efforts to diminish us and our guaranteed rights.

  2. Consider me from Missouri: show me.

    For a long time and in many many ways.

    After the way the healthcare industrial complex politicized Covid, I see them as similar to the imperial Federal government. A reality of life I can’t avoid, but don’t trust.

  3. Based on recent events and transgressions, “ANY” … of the Guv’ment Agencies (Muni – State – Federal) will have to demonstrate and prove themselves, beyond the shadow of doubt, worthy of my Trust. I would encourage everyone else to take this same approach.
    … Let them prove our Elections aren’t rigged.
    … Let them prove the vaccines are safe.
    … Let them prove ‘the green new deal’ is affordable.
    … Let them prove there’s fair trade with China.
    … Let them prove the DOJ, FBI, CIA, NSA, etc are non-Political // non-Weaponized.
    … Let them prove the Borders are secure and immigration is under control.
    … Let them prove those 75K IRS Agents wont be weaponized.
    … Let them prove EV Mandates are economically viable and a worthy endeavor.
    … Let them prove a complete devastation of the cattle industry is a worthy endeavor.
    … Let them prove Carbon Sequestration is a worthy endeavor.
    … Let them prove the continuing spending on homelessness in Anchorage will pay dividends to taxpayers.
    … Let them prove genetic fortified foods are healthy.
    … Let them prove that China // Silk Road Initiative is not an existential threat to American Freedom.
    … Let them prove that legalized Weed isn’t a detriment to our communities.
    … Let them prove their value.

  4. “Americans need to be able to trust the actions and pronouncements of public health authorities.” ??? No. Anymore I do not think that we “need” to do trust any government or any entity affiliated with the government.

  5. Simple response: Dr. Anthony Fauci has done more than any person in history to destroy trust in public health agencies.

    • He got a lot of help in that effort from media, the Censorship Industrial Complex, the Biden regime, the public health apparat, the docs and hospitals who went along with the scam, which ended up being little more than a $$$ grab. Cheers –

      • I do not disagree with you. Fauci rises to the top of the list because (1) his lying and misdirection was done with full knowledge of the falsehoods and (2) a total and complete abandonment of his moral and legal obligation to serve the public to the best of his ability. He knew exactly what he was doing and apparently acted to serve himself and unknown third parties. Based on his behavior and statements, Dr. Fauci believed/believes he is a god of some kind. He is an evil man. He could have prevented so much pain, heartache and even death. Judgment day is going to be brutal for him.

  6. There’s a difference between scientific theory and indisputable facts. Gravity and electricity are examples and now being taught as facts. Don’t put all your trust in science or government especially when they sleep together. Do your own research and draw your own theory. Course not all the information is being made available in this new system of information and redaction.

  7. I think that splitting the State of Alaska health department in two was a step in the wrong direction so far as trust. When the split occurred the department had 5 spokespeople. I would bet the total number for the two departments is now greater not to mention that there are two commissioners and no one knows how many new deputy commissioners, directors, deputy directors, etc.

    The state needs to be reducing the size and scope of state government. Oil production has dropped 80 percent while the amount of government has increased! That destroys trust in government. Dunleavy backs draining the swamp in DC, as most Alaskans do. But he should be setting an example right here! Sure he mishandled the Donna Arduin budget, but he should have kept trying.

  8. Have any military advisors taken responsibility for the Afghanistan debacle? Were any Federal Reserve economists fired for extending QE too long? (600 PH.D’s?) How about failing to anticipate inflation? Other than the resignation of Fauchi and the head of the CDC, have any steps been taken to end the politicization of health agencies? What does the Departments of Education and Energy do for the benefit of the American people? The private sector would not accept such terrible performance and would do some house cleaning.

  9. Renewed trust in public health agencies’ lies…
    Wonderful satire, no?
    Trust in public health agencies, rather like virginity, once lost, comes back how, one inquires respectfully?
    The credibilty of “science”, once polluted by ideology and grant money, comes back how, exactly?
    Without lawyers, guns, and money to enforce their will, “public health agencies” accomplish what, exactly?
    Remind again, if Dr. Faucci’s “public health agencies” and Alaska’s major trading partner almost destroyed America without firing a shot,
    … why should Americans trust their “public health agencies” ever again, about anything?

  10. Has anyone in our Federal health agencies faced any consequences for their failed Covid protocols, censorship of alternative treatments or their spreading of Covid misinformation? The resounding answer is NO! Even in Alaska, at the State level, the same clowns who were responsible for all of the above are still working and probably received pay raises.

  11. Perhaps ALL governmental agencies regarding the overseeing of individual health, social, and educational concerns should be not held accountable but eliminated entirely and allow Mr. Mackey from South Park takeover said concerns.

    Think of it.

    Smoking is bad, mkay?

    Drinking too much alcohol is bad, mkay?

    Doing drugs is bad, mkay?

    Unprotected sex leading to single parenting is bad, mkay?

    Homelessness is bad, mkay?

    Funding homelessness so that it increases is bad, mkay?

    Teaching communism within a supposed free Nation is bad, mkay?

    Accepting mental illness as an excuse, or opportunistic males to present themselves as females is bad, mkay?

    All of this communistic woke bull shite is bad, mkay?

    And so much more!

    Take away the BILLIONS from ALL of the congruent Governmental Agencies that currently hold over these simplistic issues at a monumental cost, and give Mr. Mackey ten times his current salary, of which he would be happy to receive, and save the taxpayers untold amounts of hard-earned funds.

    Upon the other hand, Mr. Mackey would also have the following to say.

    The Constitution of the United States of America is good, mkay?

    The Bill of Rights of the United States of America is good, mkay?

    The Federalist Papers of the United States of America is good, mkay?

    The Emancipation Proclamation is good, mkay?

    The Civil Rights Proclamation is good, mkay?

    The FACT that the Democrat, NOT Democratic Party disapproved of the above five items is bad, mkay?

    The FACT that the Democrat, NOT Democratic Party represents themselves as a savior unto DEMOCRACY, which is the ANTETHISIS to actual individual freedom, no matter what creed, color, race, or origin is very bad, mkay?

    The FACT that this is no longer taught in schools at ANY level is bad, mkay?

    That this is even an issue for we or our children is very bad, mkay?

  12. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.” -Ronald Regan

    • Steve o ,
      Im not sure I completely agree with that quote. It’s sort of rhetoric?
      Surely there are more terrifying words.

      My question to you is : what do you think about Assange?
      His imprisonment ?
      How he’s being treated, punished ect ?
      What he did that brought about subjugation by the British government the American government?
      Did he do the right thing by publishing the information he brought forth? About surveillance? About our activities in the Middle East?

  13. Moreover, the resurrection of science might just resurrect additional scientific presumptions like: unmanaged populations of drunkards as measured by percapita consumption of alcohol in zip codes will give you helpful data to plan budgets of populations with u restrained drug use alcohol use in live births per capita. Where is the highest consumption of alcohol in the United States. Which nations have the highest consumption of alcohol. (I can tell you). What caused FAS? Does any health smarty pants know? What is FAS? What symptoms at birth? What are symptoms at five? What are symptoms at age fifteen? What are symptoms at age 35? What are symptoms of generations of drunkards. Can you imagine a social theory or social theories that might reasonably emerge. May you say it in English, German, Sweden, Norwegian and Swahili and Aleut? See, that is science. Is science OK? Really?

  14. Oh, I forgot to say others prominent in this particular scientific rhetorical population management list: can you say it in Russian, Irish, Italian etc? Down on your knees for science.

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