Controversy over harm

As part of its attempt to prevent or delay tighter regulation of smoking, the tobacco industry funded a number of scientific studies and, where the results cast doubt on the risks associated with second-hand smoke, sought wide publicity for those results. The industry also funded libertarian and conservative think tanks, such as the Cato Institute in the United States and the Institute of Public Affairs in Australia which criticised both scientific research on passive smoking and policy proposals to restrict smoking.[108][109] New Scientist and the European Journal of Public Health have identified these industry-wide coordinated activities as one of the earliest expressions of corporate denialism. Further, they state that the disinformation spread by the tobacco industry has created a tobacco denialism movement, sharing many characteristics of other forms of denialism, such as HIV-AIDS denialism.[110][111] Industry-funded studies and critiques Enstrom and Kabat A 2003 study by Enstrom and Kabat, published in the British Medical Journal, argued that the harms of passive smoking had been overstated.[112] Their analysis reported no statistically significant relationship between passive smoking and lung cancer, though the accompanying editorial noted that "they may overemphasise the negative nature of their findings."[113] This paper was widely promoted by the tobacco industry as evidence that the harms of passive smoking were unproven.[114][115] The American Cancer Society (ACS), whose database Enstrom and Kabat used to compile their data, criticized the paper as "neither reliable nor independent", stating that scientists at the ACS had repeatedly pointed out serious flaws in Enstrom and Kabat's methodology prior to publication.[116] Notably, the study had failed to identify a comparison group of "unexposed" persons.[117] Enstrom's ties to the tobacco industry also drew scrutiny; in a 1997 letter to Philip Morris, Enstrom requested a "substantial research commitment... in order for me to effectively compete against the large mountain of epidemiologic data and opinions that already exist regarding the health effects of ETS and active smoking."[118] In a US racketeering lawsuit against tobacco companies, the Enstrom and Kabat paper was cited by the US District Court as "a prime example of how nine tobacco companies engaged in criminal racketeeri g and fraud to hide the dangers of tobacco smoke."[119] The Court found that the study had been funded and managed by the Center for Indoor Air Research,[120] a tobacco industry front group tasked with "offsetting" damaging studies on passive smoking, as well as by Phillip Morris[121] who stated that Enstrom's work was "clearly litigation-oriented."[122] Enstrom has defended the accuracy of his study against what he terms "illegitimate criticism by those who have attempted to suppress and discredit it."[123] Gori Gio Batta Gori, a tobacco industry spokesman and consultant[124][125][126] and an expert on risk utility and scientific research, wrote in the libertarian Cato Institute's journal Regulation that "...of the 75 published studies of ETS and lung cancer, some 70 percent did not report statistically significant differences of risk and are moot. Roughly 17 percent claim an increased risk and 13 percent imply a reduction of risk."[127] Milloy Steven Milloy, the "junk science" commentator for Fox News and a former Philip Morris consultant,[128][129] claimed that "...of the 37 studies [on passive smoking], only 7 less than 19 percent reported statistically significant increases in lung cancer incidence."[130] Another component of criticism cited by Milloy focused on relative risk and epidemiological practices in studies of passive smoking. Milloy, who has a masters degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, argued that studies yielding relative risks of less than 2 were meaningless junk science. This approach to epidemiological analysis was criticized in the American Journal of Public Health: A major component of the industry attack was the mounting of a campaign to establish a "bar" for "sound science" that could not be fully met by most individual investigations, leaving studies that did not meet the criteria to be dismissed as "junk science."[131] The tobacco industry and affiliated scientists also put forward a set of "Good Epidemiology Practices" which would have the practical effect of obscuring the link between secondhand smoke and lung cancer; the privately stated goal of these standards was to "impede adverse legislation".[132] However, this effort was largely abandoned when it became clear that no independent epidemiological organization would agree to the standards proposed by Philip Morris et al.