LaDonna Porter, the tobacco industry spokesphysician against Prop 29, advocated for toxic industries against public health

Her work fronting for the tobacco industry in its' advertising against California's Proposition 29 is not Dr. LaDonna Porter's first work promoting a toxic industry.  (You the ad she made for the tobacco companies by clicking here.)

According to the Wall Street Journal, she fronted for the chemical industry a decade ago in opposing strict regulation of percholarte, a water pollutant that has particularly bad effects on infants.  Here is the key part of the story:

"The furor the EPA had stirred was soon evident at a gathering known as a peer-review workshop, where a panel of scientists discussed the proposal. The workshop took place in early 2002 in Sacramento, near the site of decades of groundwater perchlorate pollution from an Aerojet missile factory.

"The session was tumultuous, featuring environmentalists, regulators, consultants and lobbyists. Among the speakers was La Donna White [now Porter], president of an African-American doctors' group, who said the EPA proposal would divert funds from "real health issues" affecting blacks and "scare the public." She later repeated her points in an op-ed essay in a local newspaper -- and in a news release put out by a lobbying group for perchlorate users, the Council on Water Quality.

"Dr. White, a family physician, says she had learned about the issues from a guest at one of her medical-society meetings, Eric Newman. He is a lobbyist for a Sacramento firm that has lobbied on perchlorate matters for defense contractors. Dr. White says she didn't know he was a lobbyist when he asked her to speak to the EPA. She didn't reply to an email asking whether anyone had helped her draft her perchlorate commentaries -- two of which misspelled her first name. Mr. Newman didn't return messages left for him." 

Despite her activities to put industry profits above public health, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Porter to the Proposition 65 Science Advisory Board charged with identifying Development and Reproductive Toxicants (DART).  Surprisingly, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has left her there. 

To this day the "Perchlorate Information Bureau," an industry organization is still quoting Porter [White] on its website:  "The result [of extremely restrictive risk assessment practices that result in very costly treatment and remediation activities] is the diversion of public and private dollars into unnecessary risk management efforts and away from more immediate, real, health-related programs."   Sure sounds familiar.  

I wonder what other toxic industries she is working for.

Followup stories in Mercury News (May 4) and Sacramento Bee (May 6).


Dr Porter should sue Stanton Glantz

She has contributed much to the discussion, and should be applauded for standing up for what she believes. Stanton, like the EPA, is into crucifying anyone who disagrees with their pro control pro ban agenda. I find that Stantons money from big nicotine replacement pharma much more of a conflict of interests than Dr Porters alleged conflict with big tobacco. Stanton Glantz has made his fortune from NRT pushing for pharma. Follow the money.

Correction to this post

I approved posting this comment to correct it.  I am not, and as a matter of principle, do not take funding from drug companies, including those that sell NRT.


Mt Glantz

  Do you deny that you have accepted funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that has financial interest in Johnson and Johnson the largest marketer of smoking cessation medications? 

RWJ is not a part of the pharmaceutical industry

I do not know RWJ's endowment portfolio, but the two of my projects RWJ funded several years ago had nothing to do with NRT or even smoking cessation. One was SmokeFree Moves, an ongoing project that is getting smoking out of youth-rated films. This is important prevention work because onscreen smoking in the largest reason kids start to smoke.   The other was TobaccoScam, which exposed the tobacco industry's secret financing of the National Restaurant Association (and other groups) to use them as fronts to (eventually unsuccessfully) oppose smokefree laws (just as the tobacco companies are trying to hide behind CalTaxAmericans for Prosperity, and other groups to obscure their roles in running the No on 29 campaign).

This is so sad

I think it's unfair that good people like you are so busy defending yourselves against propaganda pushers that you don't have time to focus on what you know you need to be focusing your time on. This country has come to a point where politics is all about lying really loud, and really wide spread so that by the time the honest people have cleaned up their record and made the world understand the truth, the initiative has already been stopped or passed in their favor. This is corruption at it's finest. I can't wait until the world has come around to the true informational age when this tactic no longer works because the truth becomes so easy to find.

Good luck Mr. Glantz. Good luck.

Hmmm, Eric Newman also went to UC Davis. Of course,

it's a large school and even if you assume they attended concurrently - and that would be assuming a lot - they might not have met there.

I find LaDonna (White) Porter's history so strange. Don't medical professionals want to make tobacco products more expensive to discourage teenagers from getting hooked? Granted, I'd much prefer that the tax revenue go into the general fund, but I'm not going to vote against the measure just because the legislation restricts how the funds can be used. As a former smoker of 37 years and untold quit attempts, the measure not only increases the price of tobacco products, it funds cancer research. What's objectionable about that?

About  Proposition 29 -we are

About  Proposition 29 -we are an adults. We don't need government telling us what we can and cannot
put in our body. I understand that tobacco is bad for you, but continuing to tax people more and more is not the way to get people to quit smoking.

Oh yes it does

Raise prices of this dangerous addictive substance and people will quit.  EVERYONE quits smoking eventually, some are helped along by increasing prices, and other quit when they kick the bucket from smoking.  EVERYONE quits.

About Proposition 29 . . .

Yes Van, we are adults who when we take on irresponsible and deadly habits like tobacco smoking become a burden to ourselves, our loved ones, our society, and our medical insurance plans because emphysema and cancer has turned us into invalids.

@van Actually increased taxes

@van Actually increased taxes are attributed to lower use. In addition, those taxes are used for prevention and sessation efforts and programs. But let's stick to the story. Why was Dr Porter appointed to DART, how has she been able to stay despite being a front person for groups that are linked to cancer and death? How much is RJ Reynolds paying her? How much did she pull in from the chemical groups?

Increasing the tax on cigarettes does get people to quit smoking

There is strong and consistent evidence from all over the world that increasing taxes is a good way to help people quit smoking and prevent kids from starting.

That is why Big Tobacco is spending tens of millions of dollars trying to stop Prop 29.

Dr. Porter

One of the ironic and troubling aspects of this spokesperson is that she is a black woman product of the U.C. Davis medical school. In approximately 1978, this school was fighting to keep a student named Bakke out because he was not a minority, even though his background was outstanding. Now we see another facet of the crystal in the form of a doctor who performs actions in favor of perchlorates in ground water and smoke in our lungs. It isn't completely clear if the admissions policy is a link in the chain to this pathetic outcome, but it certainly looks bad.

LaDonna Porter

Wonder what her medical credentials are? I'm guessing it's NOT Harvard.........

Porter's medical degree

Is from UC Davis.

Plays both sides of the issue ?

Just to add to the impression of Dr. Portman's hypocrisy, she appears to have a special focus on addiction, enough to recently receive a scholarship to attend a medical conference on addiction (, but still takes a public stance in support of the tobacco industry. 

LaDonna Porter

She also spoke out against Prop 86 years ago....somebody's getting paid!!! Glad she's not my doctor....she probably prescribes meds based on who pays her too!

La Donna Porter

I've had the pleasure of working with Dr Porter and even tho I don't agree with her choice I respect her right to have it.  And as far as her being a good Doctor in fact she is one of the best.  She has been a patient advocate for as long as i've known her.  She has always gone the  extra step for her patients so question her choice but never question what a great Doctor she is.

If Porters' pro-tobacco advocacy defeats Prop 29 ...

.. she will have contributed to many many more deaths than even the best clinician could save.

What about the Hippocratic Oath? First do not harm.


Just because this doctor may have liked her as a person and liked her as a mother, blah, blah, blah... A good Financial advisor has money. A good real estate owns their own home. A good dentist takes care of their teeth. A good physical trainer is in excellent health. AND A GOOD DOCTOR PROMOTES HEALTH AND WELLNESS!!! PERIOD!!! THE FACT IS, SHE IS NOT A GOOD DOCTOR, AND SHE MAKES THAT VERY VERY CLEAR!!

Don't tell me not to judge a professional on their views and beliefs. That's what makes them who they are and an indicator tot he choices they will make behind closed doors. I'm extremely happy she is not my doctor, and I am from a family of physicians!

La Donna Porter

...can the AMA not rescind Porter's medical license for ignoring the Hippocratic Oath (first, do no harm) by lending her support to the tobacco industry????

The AMA does not issue medical licenses

The State of California does.

Paging Dr. Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds

Clearly the do no harm was tossed out the window here. Personally, I am in favor of any tax that increases the cost of smoking and tobacco products. Who cares if it goes to a government agency with little or no oversight. The point is it makes it more of a dent in the wallet. My sister quit smoking because it just wasn't affordable anymore when he husband got laid off at the beginning of the recession. "Dr." Porter should be ashamed to call herself a medical professional.

Do no harm?

I think she should give back her sheepskin and smoke another cigarette. 'nuff said?

the history shows...

time after time after time, when an ostensibly independent party is pushing Big Tobacco's talking points, they're taking tobacco money, or favors, often secretly. I do not assume that Porter is the lone exception.


Dr Death. LaDonna Porter


Dear Dr. Death LaDonna Porter,

You take the cake for corrupt and downright disgusting so called "Doctors",  I cannot believe you would be a "spokesperson" For Cigarette Companies. What a total scam.

You should have your License revoked. You are pathetic.

great work

On exposing a another fraudulent attack on our public health. If these "doctors" were smarter they would keep their mouths shut and help people. In this age of instant information these wolves will be exposed easily.



La Donna Porter does not speak for the California medical community, she speaks for Big Tobacco. 

LaDonna Porter

Dear LaDonna Porter:

Does money make your world go round?

Missing the Point

If just caring about money was a crime, almost all of us would be in lock-up.  The issue is HOW one makes money.   Being a paid shill for Big Tobacco, and at the same time, being a physician, does harm, and that goes against the Hippocratic Oath.  If you told this to Porter, she would surely ask what your point was.

the Black Market will thank you

Local retailer compete all day everyday with guys that sell cigarettes brought in from Mexico and sold on the streets for a fraction of the retail price.  Black market cigarettes are not taxed and no one is responsible for looking out for minors.


Local Mom & Pop businesses suffer, excise, sales and employment taxes decline.  Voters have fallen for this same tired old song and dance for far too long.  Government, both state and federal reap more revenue from the sale of a pack of cigarettes than evil big tobacco.  The tax revenue has been wasted on one costly useless program after another.  In the meantime, schools suffer, real health care suffers, public safety suffers and the Golden State is not so golden anymore.  We are becoming the laughing stock of the nation.  

High taxes are driving business and residents from the state.  It is time to rethink using taxation to bully social agendas.

Mom and Pop should stop selling cigarettes

That's great but cigarettes are simply stupid. I smoked when I was a teenager and  it took til I got married to realize how stupid it was. The only people that don't want you to smoke are people that care about you. The only people that want you to smoke are those that don't care about you. The name Mom and Pop refers to real parents. And real parents don't condone smoking with their own children, even if they are over 18.. They should not be referred to as Mom and Pop locations they should be referred to as convenient stores. Unless they act like moms and pops of the community they are simply convenient.


Prop 29 will generate California jobs and economic activity

You are only looking at a small part of the picture.

80 cents of every dollar spent on cigarettes now leaves California, going back east to Philip Morris, Reynolds, and the other tobacco interests financing and directing the No on 29 campaign.

When 29 passes, people will smoke less and that money -- now sent out of state -- will stay here, creating about $2 billion a year in economic activity and about 12,000 jobs.

For details, click here.

Currently CA makes $.82 per

Currently CA makes $.82 per pack.  CA is in the cigarette business.  CA also receives additional revenue from the Master Settlement Agreement so add anther dollar plus.  May I state again, CA is in the cigarette business and can ill-afford any loss of revenue.  If they state and Mr. Glantz were realistic they would wake up and smell the coffee.  This bill will severely harm the economic recovery of the state.


No one knows how big the cigarette black market is at this time, but it will only grow and the losers will be the citizens of CA as budgets are hacked to death to make up for the lost revenue.  

Prop 29 will help the California economy

In addition to saving billions of dollars in health care costs, Prop 29 will cut smoking by about $1 billion a year.  $800 million of that billion current leaves the state, going back to Philip Morris, Reynolds and other tobacco interests.  When people smoke less, that money will stay here, creating about $2 billion in new economic activity and about 12,000 jobs.  Details here.