Former FDA commissioner to speak at VCU

David Kessler will discuss “Tobacco Wars” at the Institute for Contemporary Art.

David Kessler.
David Kessler, former head of the FDA, will speak Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Institute for Contemporary Art. (Courtesy photo)

David Kessler, M.D., who served as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 1990-97, will speak at Virginia Commonwealth University on Nov. 11.

Kessler’s talk, “Tobacco Wars,” will be held at 4 p.m. at the Institute for Contemporary Art, 601 W. Broad St. The event is free and open to the public.

As FDA commissioner, Kessler oversaw the agency’s implementation of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act, which required the placement of nutritional information on packaged food. He also was an outspoken advocate for greater regulation of nicotine and the tobacco industry. He is the author of “A Question of Intent: A Great American Battle with a Deadly Industry,” which chronicles his tenure at the FDA and its battles against the tobacco industry.

Kessler was elected chair of the board of directors of the Center for Science in the Public Interest in June. He is a former dean of the Yale School of Medicine and dean and vice chancellor of the University of California, San Francisco Medical School. 

Monday’s event is presented by the Center for the Study of Tobacco Products and the Department of Psychology in the College of Humanities and Sciences. For more information, contact Peter Stauffer at

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