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HomescienceTobacco giant accused of 'manipulating science' to attract non-smokers - Science &...

Tobacco giant accused of 'manipulating science' to attract non-smokers – Science & Health

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A document reveals that Philip Morris International paid about 23,000 euros to a bioscience consulting firm to promote its products at academic events. The tobacco company will try to become the second-largest tobacco seller in Japan.

Philip Morris International (PMI), one of the world's largest tobacco companies, is suspected of funding scientific studies to promote its heated tobacco products (IQOS) in Japan. The accusation comes after the Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG), from the University of Bath in England, revealed documents showing how the tobacco company tried to “manipulate science for profit.”

An internal business strategy document from April 2019 details how Philip Morris International hired an outside research organization to secretly fund academics at Kyoto University in Japan, aiming to influence politicians, doctors, businesses and consumers, with the goal of being present at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, in order to increase its sales, at a time when traditional tobacco was in decline.

“It is increasingly clear that PMI’s recent promises cannot be taken literally,” said Georgi Alday, director of Stop Tobacco Products, a market watchdog. mentioned on the same site“PMI’s intentions with IQOS appear to go much further than they have stated, and the idea of ​​promoting it through the Tokyo Olympics is just one glaring example.”

FTI-Innovations, a bioscience consultancy run by a professor at the University of Tokyo, will receive around £20,000 (€23,000) a month, between 2014 and 2019, to carry out tasks such as Networks With scientists and promote science products and PMI at academic events.

Manipulating science for profit harms us all, especially policymakers and consumers trying to make informed choices.“It delays and undermines public health policies, while encouraging widespread use of harmful products,” Sophie Braznel, one of the document’s authors, told the British newspaper. Watchman.

Although the tobacco company claims that heated tobacco is only for adult smokers, this document suggests that the company was willing to reach a much broader audience in order to “accelerate the acquisition” of new IQOS users. Previous reports have even suggested that IQOS was being marketed to youth and even school-age children.

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Philip Morris International is thus working to maintain its position as Japan's second-largest tobacco seller by promoting the idea of ​​”quitting smoking” and, according to another report, by allowing smoking in places where it is prohibited.

Tobacco control organizations and products said there was also evidence the company was implementing similar tactics in other countries to create a “new type of tobacco epidemic using the IQOS HTP device” by selling it in the United States. BarsPubs and restaurants, for example in the UK.

“It is alarming that this points to a broader pattern of deceptive tactics, which could pave the way for a new chapter in the tobacco epidemic,” said Jorge Alday.

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