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Tobacco industry pays scientists to challenge secondhand smoke's link to infant death risk

ve questioned this conclusion. The author accommodated many of Philip Morris' suggested changes, and when he submitted his final draft to them, he had removed his original conclusion about the effect of secondhand smoke on infants. Instead, he wrote that "the majority of the effects of smoking can be explained by prenatal smoking by the mother," and that postnatal (infant) secondhand smoke effects were "less well established" than prenatal smoking.

As published, the article mentions the financial support of Philip Morris, but does not acknowledge that the article was initiated, reviewed and influenced by the tobacco company. Not only does the limited acknowledgement mask the extent of the tobacco company's influence on the conclusion, but totally hidden from view is the fact that the article was essentially conceived by the tobacco company in the first place, UCSF's Glantz points out.

"This study of Philip Morris activity since the tobacco industry signed the Master Settlement Agreement in 1998 shows that the industry continues to use its 50-year old strategies to sow confusion about the real dangers of secondhand smoke and to distort the entire scientific process," says Glantz.

The tobacco industry documents were made available as part of the Master Settlement Agreement, in which among other things, tobacco companies pledged to cease their efforts to discredit research on smoking and health. To this end, the current Philip Morris web site includes this statement:

"Public health officials have concluded that secondhand smoke from cigarettes causes disease, including lung cancer and heart disease, in non-smoking adults, as well as causes conditions in children such as asthma, respiratory infections, cough, wheeze, otitis media (middle ear infection) and sudden infant death syndrome. In addition, public health officials have concluded that secondhand smoke can exacerbate adult asthma and cause eye, throat and nasal irritation."


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Contact: Wallace Ravven
wravven@pubaff.ucsf.edu
415-476-2557
University of California - San Francisco
7-Mar-2005


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