Tobacco company misrepresented danger from cigarettes: study

January 6, 2012
This is Stanton A. Glantz, PhD. Credit: UCSF

A new UCSF analysis of tobacco industry documents shows that Philip Morris USA manipulated data on the effects of additives in cigarettes, including menthol, obscuring actual toxicity levels and increasing the risk of heart, cancer and other diseases for smokers.

Tobacco industry information can't be taken at face value, the researchers conclude. They say their work provides evidence that hundreds of additives, including menthol, should be eliminated from cigarettes on public health grounds.

The article is published in PLoS Medicine.

In the new, independent study, the scientists reassessed data from Philip Morris' "Project MIX," which detailed chemical analyses of smoke and animal toxicology studies of 333 cigarette additives. Philip Morris, the nation's largest , published its findings in 2002.

By investigating the origins and design of Project MIX, the UCSF researchers conducted their own inquiry into the Philip Morris results. They stressed that many of the toxins in cigarette smoke substantially increased after additives were added to .

They also found, after obtaining evidence that additives increased toxicity, that tobacco scientists adjusted the protocol for presenting their results in a way that obscured these increases.

"We discovered these post-hoc changes in analytical protocols after the industry scientists found that the additives increased cigarette toxicity by increasing the number of fine particles in the cigarette smoke that cause heart and other diseases," said senior author Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF.

"When we conducted our own analysis by studying per cigarette – following Philip Morris' original protocol -- we found that 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by 20 percent or more," he said.

Additionally, in the independent study, the researchers discovered the reason behind Philip Morris' failure to identify many toxic effects in animal studies: its studies were too small.

"The experiment was too small in terms of the number of rats analyzed to statistically detect important changes in biological effects," Glantz said. "Philip Morris underpowered its own studies."

The results of "Project MIX" were first published as four papers in a 2002 edition of Food and Chemical Toxicology, a journal whose editor and many members of its editorial board had financial ties to the . While Philip Morris was trying to get the papers published, the company scientist who led Project Mix sent an email to a colleague describing the peer review process as "an inside job."

In the new study, the researchers used documents made public as a result of litigation against the tobacco industry. The documents are available to the public through UCSF's Legacy Tobacco Documents Library.

Explore further: New analysis casts doubt on results of tobacco industry studies into safety of cigarette additives

More information: http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.1001145

Related Stories

New analysis casts doubt on results of tobacco industry studies into safety of cigarette additives

December 20, 2011
New analysis casts doubt on results of tobacco industry studies into safety of cigarette additives

Philip Morris challenges plain packs in Australia

December 20, 2011
Global tobacco giant Philip Morris Tuesday stepped up its legal campaign against an Australian law banning logos and branding from cigarette packs, saying it had taken its case to the High Court.

UCSF to receive tobacco papers, funding to improve public access to the documents

December 13, 2011
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a proposed consent order today with a federal district court that finalizes requirements for three major tobacco companies to make internal documents public in accordance with an earlier ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

5 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

wiyosaya
5 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2012
Somehow, this does not strike me as news.
TheSpiceIsLife
Jan 06, 2012
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Squirrel
5 / 5 (1) Jan 06, 2012
Could be grounds for a class action. Isn't also a crime to intentionally misrepresent the safety of a product?
Vendicar_Decarian
2.3 / 5 (6) Jan 07, 2012
The continued existence of the U.S. tobacco industry - an industry that sells poison - is absolute proof of the inferiority of America, and points a finger directly at the cause of America's ongoing collapse.
antialias_physorg
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 07, 2012
Some guy on a chat board said it best when he summed up tobacco thus:


all i can say is, the native americans could not have had better vengeance on americans than tobacco. hundreds of thousands of dead each year:
Americans: "hey, we're going to enslave, decimate, relocate, and destroy your way of life."
Indians: "oh, okay. here, smoke this"

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.