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ASH Thanks Outgoing Board Chair and Welcomes Incoming Board Chair

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Megan Arendt
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ASH Thanks Outgoing Board Chair and Welcomes Incoming Board Chair
A decade of impact and the hope of more progress to come

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 17, 2022 – Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) extends our deepest gratitude to Dr. Alfred Munzer for his ten years of service as Chair of the ASH Board of Trustees. During his tenure, ASH bolstered its position as a globally recognized public health organization. Dr. Munzer joined the ASH board over two decades ago, and has been fighting the tobacco epidemic for over fifty years through his career as a physician and advocate.

Dr. Munzer was instrumental in ASH’s success supporting the development of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global treaty “to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.” His support also helped ASH and its partners elevate the tobacco epidemic as a global priority in need of urgent action by integrating tobacco in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other UN global processes like the World Health Assembly, the UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council.

“As a pulmonologist, Dr. Munzer had direct experience with the damage tobacco causes to the human body. I still remember the day in the early 2000’s, when he told me that he envisioned ‘a day when smoking is no longer a sign of personal success, and when tobacco is no longer a measure of national wealth or a legitimate commodity in international trade,’” said ASH’s Executive Director Laurent Huber. “ASH and the world have been fortunate to benefit from his expertise as a global diplomat, his leadership, and his keen strategic vision for a smoke-free world, which helped accelerate action to stop the harm commercial tobacco causes to our communities and the world.”

During Dr. Munzer’s chairpersonship, ASH made the transition from a tobacco control organization to a leader in the movement to end the tobacco epidemic by promoting bold solutions proportionate to the harm caused by tobacco products, including ASH’s Project Sunset initiative, which aims to phase out the sale of commercial, combustible cigarettes.

ASH is pleased that Dr. Munzer will remain a Board Trustee and an active supporter of our mission to reach zero deaths from tobacco.

Today, ASH welcomes our incoming Board Chair, Douglas Blanke, founder and executive director of the Public Health Law Center at the Mitchell Hamline School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Mr. Blanke is an attorney with forty years’ experience in public policy arenas, including legislative advocacy, litigation, marketing regulation, consumer protection and coalition building.

As an Assistant Attorney General of Minnesota, Mr. Blanke played a key role in the historic litigation that resulted in the release of the internal documents of the tobacco industry, and in multi-state initiatives to eliminate smoking in fast food restaurants and prevent tobacco sales to minors. Read more in his complete biography here.

ASH thanks our entire Board of Trustees for supporting this seamless transition.


Founded in 1967, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) is America’s oldest anti-tobacco organization, dedicated to a world with ZERO tobacco deaths. Because tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, ASH supports bold solutions proportionate to the magnitude of the problem. https://ash.org