Monday, December 04, 2017

Recent papers showing Tobacco Industry influence in peer-reviewed journals and the ADA

Two recently published journal articles made extensive use of the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents to shed light on the industry's influence in regulatory policy and scholarship:

  • Velicer,C.;St Helen,G.;Glantz,S.A. Tobacco papers and tobacco industry ties in regulatory toxicology and pharmacology. Journal of Public Health Policy. 2017 November.

    The authors examined the relationship between the tobacco industry and the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (RTP) using the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library and internet sources. They determined the funding relationships, and categorized the conclusions of all 52 RTP papers on tobacco or nicotine between January 2013 and June 2015, as "positive", "negative" or "neutral" for the tobacco industry. RTP's editor, 57% (4/7) of associate editors and 37% (14/38) of editorial board members had worked or consulted for tobacco companies. Almost all (96%, 50/52) of the papers had authors with tobacco industry ties. Seventy-six percent (38/50) of these papers drew conclusions positive for industry; none drew negative conclusions. The two papers by authors not related to the tobacco industry reached conclusions negative to the industry (p < .001). These results call into question the confidence that members of the scientific community and tobacco product regulators worldwide can have in the conclusions of papers published in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology.

  • van der Eijk,Y.;Glantz,S.A. Tobacco industry attempts to frame smoking as a 'disability' under the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. PLoS One 2017 Nov 27;12(11):e0188188

    Using the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library and Congressional records, the authors examined the tobacco industry's involvement with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). During legislative drafting of the ADA (1989-1990), the Tobacco Institute, the tobacco industry's lobbying and public relations arm at the time, worked with industry lawyers and civil rights groups to include smoking in the ADA's definition of "disability." Focus was on smoking as a perceived rather than actual disability so that tobacco companies could maintain that smoking is not addictive. Language that would have explicitly excluded smoking from ADA coverage was weakened or omitted. Tobacco Institute lawyers did not think the argument that smokers are "disabled" would convince the courts, so in the two years after the ADA was signed into law, the Tobacco Institute paid a lawyer to conduct media tours, seminars, and write articles to convince employers that hiring only non-smokers would violate the ADA. The ultimate goal of these activities was to deter employers from promoting a healthy, tobacco-free workforce and, more broadly, to promote the social acceptability of smoking.