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“We are anxious to remain anonymous”: the use of third party scientific and medical consultants by the Australian tobacco industry, 1969 to 1979
  1. S Chapman
  1. Professor Chapman is also Associate Direcor, VicHealth Centre for Tobacco Control
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor Simon Chapman
 School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Building A 27, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia;


Objective: To document the history of visits to Australia by tobacco industry sponsored scientists and news media reports about smoking and health matters generated by their visits.

Design: Systematic keyword and opportunistic website searches of tobacco industry internal documents made available through the Master Settlement Agreement.

Results: At least nine sponsored scientists visited Australia from 1969 until 1979. The industry sought to promote the scientists as independent from the industry and on occasion, scientists publicly lied about their industry connections. The industry was sometimes delighted with the extensive and favourable media coverage given to the visits.

Conclusions: These media reports are likely to have influenced many who were exposed to them to believe that the evidence against smoking remained equivocal.

  • tobacco industry
  • scientific consultants
  • medical consultants

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  • This paper should be read in conjunction with companion articles on the formation and history of the Australian Tobacco Research Foundation (the Australian version of the US Council for Tobacco Research);6 with case studies on how the industry promoted the views of an Australian pro-smoking doctor;7 and the indoor air consultancy firm it helped establish in Australia, Healthy Buildings International.8

  • In 1988, their research group published a 21 year follow up of their original twin cohort, concluding: “The impact of smoking on mortality, CHD death and lung cancer is also valid among smoking discordant twins.” Floderus B, Cederlöf R, Friberg L. Smoking and mortality: a 21-year follow-up based on the Swedish Twin Registry. Int J Epidemiol1988;:–40 .

  • * Whist A. Letter no. A37 [Letter to A. Holtzman, Assistant General Counsel, Philip Morris International]. 2 April 1970. Philip Morris. Bates No. 2015047992/7997. 4 July 2002.