Tobacco Center Faculty Blog

February 6, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Ruth Malone has just posted an entry on the Tobacco Control blog explaining why she is again declining the FDA's invitation to participate in a meeting hosted by the FDA on "Third Party Governance of Industry-Sponsored Tobacco Product Research."  (Her original letter and reactions to it is available here.)  

I strongly agree with Ruth and urge others to follow her lead.

For those who feel compelled to attend the FDA meeting with the tobacco companies, I urge you to make the same comments to the FDA.  Regardless of divided opinion on whether it sends a stronger message the FDA to decline to attend its meeting or to attend and speak, there seems to be a broad consensus that the FDA is not doing its job to protect the public health.  Those who decide to attend the meeting need to be strong and forthright in supporting the views that Ruth advances in her letter.

February 4, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Many people have responded to my posting of Ruth Malone’s letter on the FDA’s decision to have a “facilitated dialog” between public health and the tobacco industry.  I have also received several direct emails on the subject of harm reduction in general, including one from Joel Nitzkin, a vigorous proponent of “reduced risk” tobacco products, with a request that I post it.
In response, I asked the following question: “I have been told that the Heritage Foundation (or other similar group(s)) have been supporting Joel's work.  Is that correct?  If so, that fact should probably be disclosed.”  The Heritage Foundation has a long history of being part of the tobacco companies’ network of quietly funded “third parties” the industry uses to support its position.
In response, Dr. Nitzkin responded:

January 30, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The American Journal of Public Health just published an excellent paper, "Public Health, Academic Medicine, and the Alcohol Industry’s Corporate Social Responsibility Activities," by Thomas Babor and Katherine Robaina that is well worth reading.
Here is the abstract:

We explored the emerging relationships among the alcohol industry, academic medicine, and the public health community in the context of public health theory dealing with corporate social responsibility. We reviewed sponsorship of scientific research, efforts to influence public perceptions of research, dissemination of scientific information, and industry-funded policy initiatives.

To the extent that the scientific evidence supports the reduction of alcohol consumption through regulatory and legal measures, the academic community has come into increasing conflict with the views of the alcohol industry.
We concluded that the alcohol industry has intensified its scientific and policy-related activities under the general framework of corporate social responsibility initiatives, most of which can be described as instrumental to the industry’s economic interests.
The paper is available at

January 30, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

The Food and Drug Administration is planning to hold a "facilitated dialog" between health researchers and the tobacco companies on the issue of industry-funded research.  Ruth Malone, my colleague at UCSF and editor of the journal Tobacco Control, has written an eloquent letter to the FDA explaining why she is declining this invitation and calling on others to do the same. 

I applaud Ruth for writing this letter and urge all scientists and public health professionals to do the same.

The FDA needs to cancel this misconceived enterprise and devote its energy to promoting public health by doing things like banning menthol.

Here is Ruth's letter:

Center for Tobacco Products
Food and Drug Administration
January 30, 2013

Dear colleagues:

January 21, 2013

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

Chris Millett and other colleagues at Imperial College London and I just published a paper in Pediatrics, "Hospital Admissions for Childhood Asthma After Smoke-Free Legislation in England," that shows that childhood asthma admissions, which had been rising 2% a year before England put a strong smokefree law in place, dropped by 8.9% immediately after the law and continued to fall after that.

This is a particularly important paper because during the long debate before the law tobacco industry allies (including the Minister of Health for some of the time) claimed that if workplaces, including pubs, were made smokefree smokers would smoke more at home, thereby harming their children.  (The same claim pops up from time to time around the world.)  Earlier work by my group showed in the US that smokefree laws are associated with more voluntary smokefree home policies, especially when there are smokers in the house.  This new paper shows there are substantial health benefits for kids.