Today February one, The Australian Newspaper release an article tiled, Exposed: big tobacco’s links to vape research. They report led with…“one of the world’s largest tobacco companies funded research into vapes and e-cigarettes that had positive findings and have since been promoted by Australian researchers”.
The Australian went onto report that,
Philip Morris infiltrated academia through the Foundation for a Smoke Free World, which launched four years after the tobacco giant announced it would move into the e-cigarette market. One Italian researcher, who made a submission in support of vaping to the federal inquiry into e-cigarette use in Australia, has worked on at least 17 papers commissioned by the foundation.
Philip Morris – the maker of Marlboro and Peter Jackson cigarettes – is the sole funder of the Foundation for a Smoke Free World. It has financed more than 70 academic papers on topics…The foundation has commissioned at least six projects with researchers from Yale University.
The research, some of which does not disclose the foundation is funded by the tobacco company, is published in legitimate academic journals …After the research is published, it is then cited by other researchers and becomes part of academic literature. Some of the articles have been cited dozens of times, with that research then relied on by other researchers, sometimes hundreds of them and occasionally thousands.
One paper on patterns of tobacco use over the pandemic published in Nicotine and Tobacco Research, which is run by Oxford University Press, was cited 82 times. Those 82 research papers were cited more than a 1000 times. That research was then used in more than 6700 papers. The original paper did not disclose the link to Philip Morris but disclosed funding from the foundation. Oxford University Press did not respond to a request for comment.
Exposed: big tobacco's financial links to vape research – The Australian 1/2/23
Well, if one is going to actively manipulate ‘science’ to, if not find, then generate confirmation bias, this all makes perfect sense.
However, if truth telling and fact-finding, evidence-based objective science is the right process, then this mechanism is nothing short of… we’ll leave you to conclude that sentence – which will perhaps depend on your bias?
In the article Professor Proctor commented that “cigarette makers liked supporting science when it helped them sell cigarettes… and also support science to make it seem like they are acting as responsible corporate citizens.”
Of course, this is not unexpected at all! Big tobacco has a long and recorded history of ‘muddying the waters’ of science that took a serious, concerted and sustained multi-government effort to finally unravel and remove their ‘smokescreen’. Everyone takes for granted the ‘lies’ told by Big Tobacco, but we forget, or worse, wilfully ignore that history. Consequently, this ‘history’ has a good shot of repeating itself.
It kind of makes sense, in a perverse way, Big Tobacco make and promote an addictive product, and when that is railed against, they buy into a vehicle that is supposed to help people stop smoking – or keep it going in a different form?
Cash-in on the addiction! Cash-in on the exit or maintenance of addiction.
The Australian Financial Review in February 2021 reported on the start of some of lobbying games for e-cigarettes and the courting of governments to partner with their manipulatively cynical messaging around smoking cessation. How these games were being found out and then starting to get some serious ‘push back’ against Big Tobaccos involvement in e-cigarette promotion.
Just how deeply big tobacco is entwined in the push to legalise vaping has come to light because one of the country’s largest industry groups decided it had had enough. The Australian Retailers Association confirmed to AFR Weekend that it cancelled a contract last August with global PR firm Burson Cohn & Wolfe (BCW) worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote and lobby to get e-cigarettes legalised.
The BCW revelation torpedoes the argument by vaping promoters that legalising e-cigarettes will hurt tobacco companies. Not only are they putting submissions supporting legalisation, they have a secret money trail to make it happen. (Australian Financial Review – The Secret Money Trail Behind Vaping)
The Lung Foundation of Australia also chimed in on the ever-morphing tactics of Big Tobacco in the Vaping space. In August last year they posted the following,
Lung Foundation Australia are urging pharmacists to not engage with the tobacco industry giant Philip Morris International (PMI) backed patient support scheme for nicotine vaping products. In Australia, nicotine vaping products can only be obtained by prescription through a doctor as a last-line smoking cessation aid. Details of the controversial program, outlines PMI’s plan to give pharmacists payments for referral of patients to get prescriptions for nicotine containing vaping products, providing education about vaping and dispensing fee associated with sale of their product.
Tobacco Industry has no place in healthcare – and should have not have the ability to provide incentives (financial or other) to healthcare professionals, directly or indirectly. All current evidence states nicotine vaping products do not have substantial evidence to be used as smoking cessation aids. There is no e-cigarette, regardless of nicotine content, that is approved as safe to use, and in Australia we have many other proven safe and effective smoking cessation aids that smokers who are wanting to quit should speak to their doctor about. Lung Foundation 2022
These are just samples of the shenanigans in play.
Coming or going, Big Tobacco continues to have its hand in any vehicle or mechanism that keeps punters ‘inhaling’… whatever they can sell or enable and it’s our kids who are going to pay the highest price.
According to the Australia Bureau of Statistics the demographic that arguably ‘smokes’ the least is the one vaping the most with nearly 22% of 18-24 y.o. using. More disturbingly, 7.6% of children (15-17) are vaping, and heavens knows what. We can declare almost categorically that engaging with e-cigarettes in these demographics is not for smoking cessation, but for uptake of…?
Prescription only models is just one starting point to rein in this public health disaster, but much more needs to be done.
Your pressure will help this. Keep pushing back in your schools, communities, and homes on this issue.
Communications Team @ Dalgarno Institute