December 27, 2011

Stanton A. Glantz, PhD

How the tobacco industry shaped (and continues to shape) the way scientists (and everyone else) thinks about scientific evidence

Allan Brandt has a wonderful paper in the January 2012 issue of American Journal of Public Health, "Inventing Conflicts of Interest: A History of Tobacco Industry Tactics," that pulls all the pieces together to show how, over the years and with great care, tobacco industry PR experts have shaped the way that scientists, to say nothing of policy makers, the public and the media, think about science and what it takes to "prove" something in science. While I knew most of the details in this paper, it was very nice to see them all pulled together and placed into context in one place.  People who write important documents like Surgeon General reports should pay particular attention to this paper so see how skillfully they have been steered into ever-increasing standards of proof.

The same issue of AJPH also has a great paper on what the alcohol industry has learned from tobacco (in part by hiring a tobacco executive to organize things for them) on how to market to kids while appearing to be "socially responsible."  It's all there, from getting laws and standards changed to scientific partnerships and voluntary codes. Take a look at "Joe Camel in a Bottle: Diageo, the Smirnoff Brand, and the Transformation of the Youth Alcohol Market."

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