Scientific Evidence Portal
Environmental Tobacco Smoke and Lung Cancer: an Evaluation of the Risk | Idle J, Benitez J, Krokan HE, Roberfroid M, Springall A
Article Published: 1996
Funding Source: Philip Morris Europe SA, British American Tobacco Company Limited, Rothmans International Services Limited
Published By: The study was barred from publication
Further Information We are glad to re-present this meta-analysis that was “buried” a long time ago, as it dates back to 1996. This study has an interesting story. Top scientists of various disciplines were assembled by the European tobacco industry under the name of The European Working Group.
Their task was to evaluate the available primary studies on ETS to that date. The working group concluded that the claims that ETS causes disease were to be rejected, and explained the reasons in the several segments of this study. At the time of the release of the study, our team contacted the head of the group, Prof. Jeffrey Idle, who told us about the incredible pressure and virtual persecution the group was subjected to after the release of the study – something naively unexpected by any of the members of the group.
Of course they were immediately branded as stooges of the tobacco industry, as their "fault" was obvious: they recognized that the evidence available to date was junk science, and they failed to corroborate the belief that passive smoking hurts people: a belief indispensable for the establishment of smoking bans and the promotion of pharmaceutcal smoking cessation products. In short, they upset the apple cart.
Persecuted by the press for months and in every aspect of their lives, the scientists “disappeared” from the public eye, along with their study. These were well known and well paid scientists already, as the documentation below shows. The antismoking propaganda goes to great extents to discredit research paid by the tobacco industry, implying that “honest” scientists would not go against the "consensus" mantras, that only dishonest scientists would do so.
Would any established scientist lie and ruin his career for an occasional client such as the tobacco industry was to these? These people were not working full time for the industry. Conversely, most of those who state that passive smoking is the closest thing to mustard gas have their paycheques guaranteed by “public health”, and the institution is their employer. In short, they are protected from the consequences of their statements, and motivated to continue ensuring employment.
Over ten years later, it is still clear that the observations in this study were sound and quite coherent with the huge limitations of epidemiology – but, unfortunately to the exposure of these conclusions, they were contrary to the healthist ideology that was already contaminating the West on a large scale.