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April 7th 2021

Collegium Ramazzini publishes a new statement on the tobacco industry

COLLEGIUM RAMAZZINI STATEMENT N. 27


An Ill-Considered Partnership between the American Journal of Public Health and the Tobacco Industry Threatens the Scientific Credibility of the Journal and the Integrity of the American Public Health Association 

In June 2020, the editors of The American Journal of Public Health published a series of articles discussing public health controls for e-cigarettes.1 The authors in this series included Dr. Derek Yach, President of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and other scientists from this Foundation, who argued – despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary - that e-cigarettes are beneficial, that flavors in e-cigarettes should not be regulated, that regulations simply increase the black market, and that “many tobacco control non-governmental organization activists” create public misconception and alarmism.2  

 

The Collegium Ramazzini notes with grave concern that Dr. Yach and his colleagues in the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World are not objective scientists weighing the risks and benefits of e-cigarettes from the perspective of protecting the public’s health. Instead, they are spokespersons well-funded by the tobacco industry and recognized as advancing a commercial message. The main supporter of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is Philip Morris International (PMI), the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company. PMI is financing the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World with $80 million annually over the next 12 years - a total of nearly $1 billion.3, 4 

 

It is the conclusion of the Collegium Ramazzini that the editors of The American Journal of Public Health made a serious error of judgement in allowing Dr. Yach and the Foundation for a Smoke-free World to publish their scientifically unfounded views in The American Journal of Public Health.

 

By giving Dr. Yach and his colleagues space and a platform in the official journal of the American Public Health Association, the editors have assisted the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World in its ongoing efforts to convey the mistaken impression that Dr. Yach’s opinions represent a legitimate scientific opinion, when in fact Dr. Yach’s expressed views and those of his Foundation are anything but representative of the current scientific consensus.

The Collegium Ramazzini recommends that the Executive Board of the American Public health Association (APHA) and the AJPH Editorial Board to take the following two actions:

First, the APHA Executive Board must adopt a formal policy position rejecting any collaboration or funding of any kind from the tobacco industry and its front groups.  This position will align APHA with the World Health Organization, the World Federation of Public Health Associations and leading, respected public health organizations across the United States and around the world.

Second, the editors of AJPH must publish a formal statement in the journal retracting the articles by Dr. Derek Yach and other individuals and organizations funded by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World and other arms of the tobacco industry that AJPH published in its June 2020 issue.  This retraction must be listed in Pub Med and linked in Pub Med to the citation to Dr. Yach’s article.

Please click below to read the full statement.   

Collegium Ramazzini Statement 27 - The tobacco industry and public health controls for e-cigarettes

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