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J Raymond Johnstone

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.


Dr Ray Johnstone was an academic who worked out of the University of Western Australia's Department of Physiology. His full name was Jeffrey Raymond Johnstone. Most of his time appears to have been spent as an assistant to Liberal politician John Hyde in running his Perth, WA think-tank, the Australian Institute for Public Policy. He also worked later with Hyde in Melbourne, Victoria when Hyde took over and merged his think-tank with the older and bigger Institute for Public Affairs.

Johnstone quite happily joined forces with one of the most corrupt of the Canadian tobacco lobbyists, John Luik -- a man with many fake credentials -- who the IPA brought out to Australia at the request of the Australian tobacco industry. He claims to have co-authored the tome "Smokescreen: Passive Smoking and public policy" with Luik, although he doesn't get that credit on the book.

Johnstone was the author of "Health Scare: The Misuse of Science in Public Health Policy"

The University of Western Australia says it has no record of his graduation or PhD. [2].

Documents & Timeline

1981 An article with the title The Myth of Immortality by Johnstone. It was first published in Australian Surgeon and it attacks the Doll and Hill study which made the medical establishment sit up and take notice of the smoking and lung-cancer connection. [3]


1990 Oct 25 A conference known as Smokepeace 90 was an international talk-fest organized in Helsinki (25-27 Oct 1990) supposedly by the "Considerate Smokers Association" (Finnish). The tobacco industry did the major part of the practical arrangements and paid for the conference.

The main thrust of the conference was to challenge the medical evidence against ETS, using a team of cooperative doctors (However only one had an actual medical degree).

This conference followed a similar one held in Vienna a couple of days earlier. [4]


1991 Mary Pottorff ('Mopsy') at Philip Morris International's Corporate Affairs in New York, had a bookshelf list for the period 1984-91 which included many books associated with the Australian IPA and CIS joint publishing operations. [All of the below are lobbyists but only the Australians lobbyists are underlined] :


1991 [From a 1994 report]: In a recent publication (Health, Lifestyle & Environment, The Social Affairs Unit, 1991, pp. 61)

The Social Affairs Unit should immediately trigger an alarm in any readers. It was a totally corrupt operation run by Digby Anderson as an adjunct to the Institute of Economic Affairs in London. The tobacco industry used it regularly.

Prof. Raymond Johnstone, of the University of Western Australia, summarized the results of 26 studies on lung cancer: some of these consider only men, others only women and others both men and women all non smokers esposed to ETS.
Out of these, twenty do not notice any association. Futhermore, out of 51 situations of exposure (smoking partner, workplace, leisure), 45 do not notice any connection.
The lack of a positive association in the majority of the examples leads to consider the possibility of a very weak link, unless we consider as undoubtedly persuasive the minority of the studies considered. But among these there are the studies by Hirayama and Trichopoulos, the low scientific credibility of which we discussed above. [6]


1991 Jan 16 J Ray Johnstone has written a book "Health Scare - The Misuse of Science in Public Health Policy". Kay Brown, the PR at WD&HO Wills Tobacco has sent a review of the book by Paddy McGuinness to David Bacon (General Manager Public Affairs for BAT) in the UK. [7]

McGuinness was a feature writer for The Australian -- Rupert Murdoch's national broadsheet newspaper. He enjoyed the image of a curmudgeon and the benefits of tobacco's generous funding of his travel and labours.

1991 June 3 PR firm Parker-Cleveland has put up a proposal to Roger G Widden at the Worldwide Regulatory Affairs division of Philip Morris International, for a new communications and media program in South America attacking the claims about second-hand smoke being dangerous to health.

They propose generating six to eight news and feature stories per month. They will write "Breaking news", "Feature stores", "Letters to the Editor" and "Op-eds". They "would write these for someone else's signature, perhaps someone you could recruit from the Latin American scientific or political community."

One of their suggestions is a ...

"Profile of Australia's Dr Ray Johnstone, controversial author of "Health Scare: The Misuse of Science in Public Health Policy." (He is) much maligned in certain circles - (He) says that smoking, alcohol and heroin have no impact on how long we live. Evidence linking passive smoking and lung cancer is badly flawed, he says, and modified diet cannot contribute to a longer life. [8]


1996 July: John Luik's Smokescreen: Passive Smoking and public policyhas been republished by the Institute for Public Affairs. It has an acknowledgement to J Ray Johnstone and Gio Batta Gori. It carries a footnote:

"This is a revised version of a paper submitted to the NHMRC and commissioned by the Tobacco Institute of Australia." [9]

1998 Sep The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) has published an article "Playing the Man: The Modern Inquisition of 'Concerned' Science" by Andrew MacIntyre in Australia. It accused activists from the 'political left' of misusing and 'inverting' science, and abandoning the approach of rational inquiry and objectivity.

His examples of this perversion are: greenhouse gases; AIDS; leaded petrol; child sexual abuse, and tobacco and health which all deny scientific evidence.

The man he says was 'being played' was Dr Julian Lee: "a distinguished thoracic physician, and a tireless worker in field." (actually the tobacco funding field). He doesn't tell readers that Lee was paid by the tobacco industry to run the Australian Independent Working Group of doctors who had sold out to the cigarette companies -- while at the same time he held the position of State President of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

Ray Johnstone has sent article this to various members of PM International, and it has been relayed to Cathy Ellis, Edward Sanders, and Roger Walk -- three of the top science-corrupters in the business. [10]