RE: Joint Meeting on ETS - London, England

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

These remarkable "privileged and confidential" minutes are from a 1988 meeting of cigarette manufacturers from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Canada and Japan who met to discuss global strategies for dealing with the industry's greatest threat: the secondhand smoke issue.

The minutes contain a fascinating discussion wherein a representative of the German cigarette industry, Dr. Franz Adlkofer, departs from the industry's established route of promoting global deceit on the secondhand smoke issue and urges the industry representatives to adopt a more responsible course:

During the meeting, Dr. Adlkofer questioned the industry's continuing creation of it's own "marketable science." In a stunning departure from typical industry plotting, Dr. Adlkofer states that what the industry was really seeking was "good public relations material, not good science." Dr. Adlkofer further said that "real science" would be "essential if the industry was to prevail on the ETS issue." Furthermore, Adlkofer "refused to endorse a situation in which scientific research is guided by public relations needs." Adlkofer questioned the wisdom of the industry's present course on the ETS (environmental tobacco smoke) issue and urged the industry instead to concentrate on identifying a threshold level for risk of ETS exposure. This controversial suggestion caused "widespread disagreement" among the meeting's participants. Dr. Sharon Boyse of British American Tobacco (BAT) said that the "no-threshold argument would automatically indict active smoking." Thomas Osdene of Philip Morris helpfully suggested that "a threshold level could be set, but that the threshold not be quantified." Another attendee, David T. Westcott (a consultant to Philip Morris U.S.A.) said that setting such a limit would be "dangerous" because it would provide "a priori proof of causation for anti-smoking advocates," and "would indict active smoking." John Rupp, of the U.S. tobacco industry's law firm Covington and Burling, further stated that "the industry should continue to emphasize the lack of substantive proof of causation." To this Adlkofer responded, "Science cannot propel the industry any further on the ETS issue unless it is able to say that not one person has died from exposure to ETS." There was nothing further added in discussion of this landmark statement.

The rest of the document is full of descriptions of the industry's existing path of global deceit on the ETS issue.

The Japanese tobacco industry representative said that the public and medical professions "must be better informed on ETS research," and added that,

..."in providing this information, the industry must be inconspicuous. Otherwise, he argued, the public will suspect the authenticity of the information. He recommended the use of third parties to convey the industry's message."

The Canadian tobacco industry representative indicated his awareness that there was almost total public support in Canada for regulation of smoking, reporting that "85-90% of Canadians, both smokers and non-smokers, are not against smoking regulation." Despite this acknowledgement, however, he went on to state a Canadian tobacco industry priority was "to underwrite the Smoker's Freedom Society, a group that publicly represents smokers' interests and is separate from the tobacco industry," showing that the Canadian tobacco industry intended to create and fund a group to oppose smoking regulations where there normally would be virtually no opposition, and that they intended to give the group the appearance of being separate from their industry.

Quotes from the document

JULY 15, 1988
JOINT MEETING ON ETS - LONDON, ENGLAND
The Industry Interface Meeting on ETS (hereinafter "Joint Meeting") was held on June 17, 1988 at the St. James Court Hotel in London. A list of participants is attached. The stated objective of this meeting was 'to bring together industry scientists to discuss scientific research and strategies on ETS and how these relate globally.' "

[From Page 5, Bates No. 2021548226]

F. SUMMARY

Don Hoel summarized the first session by noting that anti-smoking activities are occurring in all of the represented areas. These activities are not only generated locally, but also by international organizations such as the World Health Organization, which has publicly stated that a causal link between ETS and human disease has been conclusively established.
II. INDUSTRY RESEARCH AND OBJECTIVES...

[From Page 6, Bates No. 2021548227]
...Following the EEC presentation, Professor Adlkofer pro- vided the participants with his views, and presumably the views of his colleagues, on the future direction of ETS research. According to Adlkofer, the existing science demands that the industry recognize that possible health risks from ETS exist because those risks cannot be disproved. As a result, Adlkofer advocates that research be focused on determining the threshold level of adverse effects from environmental tobacco smoke, and that fewer resources be expended on epidemiological studies.

[From Page 7, Bates No. 2021548228]

Following the UK presentation, Professor Adlkofer questioned the use of the term "marketable science". Andrew Nelmes defined this term as unflawed scientific studies whose objectives are understandable to laymen and are thus useful in public relations efforts. Professor Adlkofer responded that what Nelmes wanted was good public relations material, not good science.
[From Pages 7-8, Bates Nos. 2021548228-8229]

D. UNITED STATES

Dr. Thomas Osdene of Philip Morris reported on behalf of the U.S. industry and outlined the activities of CIAR [Center for Indoor Air Research]...Philip Morris, Lorillard and R.J. Reynolds formed CIAR to facilitate and support new research on indoor air quality generally, not just ETS. Likely topics of CIAR-sponsored research include air quality in airline cabins and in the workplace. ... CIAR may also publish a scientific newsletter and/or peer-reviewed journal in order to facilitate the dissemination of information obtained... Dr. Osdene stressed that CIAR's independence will be maintained by distancing it from the Tobacco Institute...

[From Page 10, Bates No. 2021548231]


A. UNITED STATES


John Lyons, of the Tobacco Institute, began his presentation by expressing his approval for the "marketable science" concept. He then outlined the legislative, legal and public relations endeavors of the TI. He described these programs as being merely "holding actions" until science adequately counters the results of the 1986 Surgeon General's Report. That report has emboldened anti-smoking activist in the U.S. and has had a marked effect on the public generally. Presently, 49% of American object to ETS even if it has no effect on health. With regard to ETS, the TI has adopted two primary objectives: (1) to prevent further bans on cigarette smoking and (2) to change adverse public attitudes toward smoking. To achieve these goals, TI has adopted a number of strategies that can be summarized as follows:

(1) To oppose all legislative, regulatory, judicial and voluntary efforts that discriminate unfairly against smokers;

(2) To encourage scientific research and present research results, while criticizing inferior research;

(3) To limit superficial debates regarding ETS, especially in the press;

(4) To increase public awareness of indoor air pollution and the need for better ventilation;

(5) To demonstrate that the estimated social costs associated with smoking are incorrect;

(6) To increase awareness of the extremism and zealotry employed by anti-smoking groups;

(7) To demonstrate that smokers expect and are entitled to common courtesy from non-smokers;

(8) To promote smokers' rights measures;

(9) To demonstrate publicly that overreaction to any annoyance, including smoking, is anti-social; and

(10) To provide information on how to diffuse conflicts between smokers and non-smokers.


[From Page 12, Bates No. 2021548233]
Dr. Adlkofer deviated from the agenda and discussed the direction of ETS research. According to Adlkofer, analytical breakthroughs are unlikely in the ETS area if research continues on its present course. Conventional epidemiology has provided few benefits to the industry. A focus is now needed on "modern epidemiology" and human exposure studies, as well as further exploration of the alleged mechanisms of effect. He also called for the identification of a threshold level for risk. Dr. Adlkofer indicated that this approach has already been adopted in Germany.

Dr. Adlkofer's suggestion created widespread disagreement among the meeting's participants. Mr. Westcott stated that setting a threshold is dangerous because it provides a priori proof of causation for anti-smoking advocates. Mr. Rupp agreed, stating that an acceptable threshold for ETS may nevertheless indict active smoking. Rupp then engaged in a defense of existing scientific undertakings. He noted that epidemiological evidence is necessary if for no other reason than to effectively respond to anti-smoking groups, which are still engaged in epidemiological research. Rupp concluded by expressing the view that the industry should continue to emphasize the lack of substantive proof of causation..."

[From page 13, Bates No. 202115448234]

"Dr. Adlkofer agreed with Mr. Rupp that epidemiological studies should go forward in order to counter arguments by anti-smoking forces. He disagreed, however, with Rupp's views against setting a threshold for ETS. According to Adlkofer, science cannot propel the industry any further on the ETS issue unless it is able to say that not one person has died from exposure to ETS.

Other views were also expressed on the threshold problem. Dr. Boyce of BAT stated that the "no threshold" argument automatically indicts active smoking. Dr. Stuhl called on the industry to dispel the "no threshold/one molecule" theory and the contention that animal carcinogens are automatically human carcinogens. Dr. Osdene suggested that a threshold level could be set, but that the threshold not be quantified. At this point, Don Hoe1 concluded the discussion generated by Dr. Adlkofer's comments..."

"Dr. Ichinose reported the Japanese view that both the public and the medical profession must be better informed on ETS research. In providing this information, the industry must be inconspicuous. Otherwise, he argued, the public will suspect the authenticity of the information. He recommended the use of third parties to convey the industry's message."

..."D. CANADA

Mr. Dunn reported that 85-90% of Canadians, smokers and non-smokers, are not against smoking regulation...."

Joint Meeting on ETS - London, England [Privlog:] MEMORANDUM FROM PHILIP MORRIS OUTSIDE LITIGATION C...

Title: Joint Meeting on ETS - London, England [Privlog:] MEMORANDUM FROM PHILIP MORRIS OUTSIDE LITIGATION COUNSEL TO PHILIP MORRIS EMPLOYEE AND PHILIP MORRIS IN-HOUSE COUNSEL REGARDING MEETING ON ETS
Per. Author [Privlog:] HOEL,DK
Date 19880715 (July 15, 1988)
Type memo [Privlog:] MEMORANDUM
Bates 2021548222/8235
Collection Philip Morris
URL:http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xym88d00

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