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CDC Head Faces New Challenges in Fighting Smoking


The man who spearheaded New York City's successful battle against smoking will face a much different political landscape as he takes the helm at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Associated Press reported June 6.

Thomas Frieden was credited with crafting an aggressive campaign that cut smoking rates in the city dramatically, and is widely expected to make tobacco control a major focus during his tenure at CDC. However, experts note that CDC has less regulatory power and more political oversight than the New York City Department of Health, and say Frieden will have to moderate his approach to remain effective.

Frieden is known to favor data-driven responses to public-health problems, which could help at an agency where morale has been hurt by accusations of political interference during the Bush administration as well as an organizational reshuffling that added to the CDC's bureaucratic structure. Frieden has the reputation of being very determined and for using information to overcome resistance to policy change and motivating his staff.  

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