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Public health scientists accused of soft peddling the dangers of passive smoking after taking grants from tobacco related organisations

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7508.70-c (Published 07 July 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:70
  1. Annette Tuffs
  1. Heidelberg

    Four German public health scientists have been publicly criticised in Der Spiegel magazine for accepting funding from the tobacco industry in return for supporting tobacco friendly research projects and policies in the 1980s.

    Berlin journalist and public health expert Dietmar Jazbinsek discovered the names of 15 German prominent public health scientists in the internet archives of the 40 million documents which the tobacco industry had to make public following a US court decision in 1998.

    He claimed that the documents showed that four of them received large sums from the tobacco industry or organisations dependent on the tobacco industry for their research and had repaid the favour by doing tobacco friendly research and by promoting tobacco friendly health advice.

    Jazbinsek's report was commissioned by the head of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Tobacco Control at the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Martina Poetschke-Langer.

    The largest sum of 1.6m DM allegedly went to Professor Karl Überla in 1982, the then head of the German drug agency, for a study on the effects of passive smoking. According to Jasbinzek in the following years he tried to play down the risks of passive smoking. For instance in 1990 he published an article in the …

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