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Evidence of potential tobacco industry influence in Tobacco Regulatory Science
  1. Joseph G L Lee1,2,
  2. Eric K Soule1
  1. 1Department of Health Education & Promotion, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Cancer Prevention and Control, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Joseph G L Lee, Department of Health Education & Promotion, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA; leejose14{at}

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A May 2021 special issue1 of the American Journal of Health Behavior (AJHB) on JUUL consisted of 13 articles with 12 including authors who were employees of JUUL Labs; all articles reported at least one author with funding from the tobacco industry. JUUL is an electronic cigarette device that holds the greatest market share2 and is the most popular device among youth.3 The research reported in the issue was “designed to provide the US Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Tobacco Products with the information it needs and has requested to judge whether a product is appropriate for the protection of public health” per Drs Eric Auguston and Saul Shiffman.4 JUUL paid US$51 000 for the special open-access issue according to the New York Times.5 While such engagement with the industry may be acceptable under AJHB policies, it also raises a concern that funding from the tobacco industry may have been benefiting the then editor-in-chief of Tobacco Regulatory Science (TRS) through a company owned by his spouse. …

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  • Contributors Both authors conceptualised the paper. JGLL drafted the paper, and ES revised the paper. Both authors critically edited the paper and approved the final version.

  • Funding Part of ES’s effort is supported by grant numbers R15ES032138 from the National Institute of Environment Health Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), R21CA239188 from the National Cancer Institute of NIH and the Center for Tobacco Products (CTP) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U54DA036105 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse of NIH and FDA.The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or the FDA.

  • Competing interests ES is named on a patent for a smartphone app that that determines electronic cigarette device and liquid characteristics.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.