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Tobacco industry memo reveals passive smoking strategy

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7094.1569 (Published 31 May 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1569
  1. Simon Chapman
  1. Sydney

    A leaked industry memo promises to blow apart the facade that the tobacco industry carries out neutral research into passive smoking. The memo plainly sets out the details of the Philip Morris company's worldwide strategy to “coordinate and pay so many scientists on an international basis to keep the environmental tobacco smoke controversy alive.”

    The memo, which is dated February 1988 but has only recently come to light, describes a joint meeting in London of representatives from several of the world's major tobacco companies. Written by Dr Sharon Boyse of British American Tobacco, the memo reveals Philip Morris as very particular about the sort of scientist it headhunts. Not for it the scientists at the cutting edge of research into passive smoking; instead, “the consultants should, ideally, be scientists who have no previous association with tobacco companies and who have no previous record on the primary issues.” A list of British suggestions is given in the memo.

    Although it is hardly surprising to learn that “obvious anti-smokers or those with unsuitable backgrounds are filtered out,” the conditions under which the …

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