Tobacco industry response

Measures to tackle second-hand smoke pose a serious economic threat to the tobacco industry, having broadened the definition of smoking beyond a personal habit to something with a social impact. In a confidential 1978 report, the tobacco industry described increasing public concerns about second-hand smoke as "the most dangerous development to the viability of the tobacco industry that has yet occurred."[150] In United States of America v. Philip Morris et al., the District Court for the District of Columbia found that the tobacco industry "... recognized from the mid-1970s forward that the health effects of passive smoking posed a profound threat to industry viability and cigarette profits," and that the industry responded with "efforts to undermine and discredit the scientific consensus that ETS causes disease." Accordingly, the tobacco industry have developed several strategies to minimise the impact on their business: The industry has sought to position the second-hand smoke debate as essentially concerned with civil liberties and smokers' rights rather than with health, by funding groups such as FOREST.[151] Funding bias in research; in all reviews of the effects of second-hand smoke on health published between 1980 and 1995, the only factor associated with concluding that second-hand smoke is not harmful was whether an author was affiliated with the tobacco industry.[146] However, not all studies that failed to find evidence of harm were by industry-affiliated authors. Delaying and discrediting legitimate research (see for an example of how the industry attempted to discredit Hirayama's landmark study, and[152] for an example of how it attempted to delay and discredit a major Australian report on passive smoking) Promoting "good epidemiology" and attacking so-called junk science (a term popularised by industry lobbyist Steven Milloy): attacking the methodology behind research showing health risks as flawed and attempting to promote sound science . Ong & Glantz (2001) cite an internal Phillip Mo ris memo giving evidence of this as company policy[133] Creation of outlets for favourable research. In 1989, the tobacco industry established the International Society of the Built Environment, which published the peer-reviewed journal Indoor and Built Environment. This journal did not require conflict-of-interest disclosures from its authors. With documents made available through the Master Settlement, it was found that the executive board of the society and the editorial board of the journal were dominated by paid tobacco-industry consultants. The journal published a large amount of material on passive smoking, much of which was "industry-positive".[153] Citing the tobacco industry's production of biased research and efforts to undermine scientific findings, the 2006 U.S. Surgeon General's report concluded that the industry had "attempted to sustain controversy even as the scientific community reached consensus... industry documents indicate that the tobacco industry has engaged in widespread activities... that have gone beyond the bounds of accepted scientific practice."[154] The U.S. District Court, in U.S.A. v. Philip Morris et al., found that "...despite their internal acknowledgment of the hazards of secondhand smoke, Defendants have fraudulently denied that ETS causes disease."[155] Position of major tobacco companies The positions of major tobacco companies on the issue of second-hand smoke is somewhat varied. In general, tobacco companies have continued to focus on questioning the methodology of studies showing that second-hand smoke is harmful. Some (such as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris) acknowledge the medical consensus that second-hand smoke carries health risks, while others continue to assert that the evidence is inconclusive. Imperial Tobacco describes second-hand smoke as "annoying" and "unpleasant", but denies any associated health risks. Several tobacco companies advocate the creation of smoke-free areas within public buildings as an alternative to comprehensive smoke-free laws.