Tobacco industry concealed its role in refuting important study

December 12, 2002

In 1981 an influential Japanese study showed an association between passive smoking and lung cancer. Using internal tobacco industry documents, researchers in this week's BMJ describe how the industry tried to hide its involvement in refuting this study.

Some 327 documents were identified, of which 48 discussed the industry's plans to develop a study to counter the Japanese study. The goal of this study was to produce a credible, peer reviewed article that could be used as a public relations tool.

The tobacco industry considered funding the study through the Center for Indoor Air Research, a research organisation supported by the tobacco industry, in order to conceal its involvement.

The parties involved in conducting the study included a tobacco industry scientist, a tobacco industry consultant, an industry law firm, and two Japanese investigators. The consultant was named as the sole author of the final published paper. A general disclosure of financial support from "several companies of the tobacco industry" was also included.

The study found that there was no direct evidence that secondhand exposure to tobacco smoke increased risk of lung cancer, and concluded that studies like the Japanese study have "little scientific basis."

Hidden or "ghost" authorship occurs in studies funded by other corporate interests, as well as among academic researchers. When the participants in the design, conduct, and reporting of the study are hidden, credit and accountability for the work cannot be assessed, write the authors.

The acknowledgement of financial support from tobacco companies in the final publication of the study shows how financial disclosure is an imperfect indicator of a sponsor's involvement in the research, add the authors. The published disclosure that the author received "financial support from several companies of the tobacco industry" does not fully describe the industry's involvement in the study, they conclude.


Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to