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Addiction. 2010 Jun;105(6):974-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2010.02940.x.

'To prove this is the industry's best hope': big tobacco's support of research on the genetics of nicotine addiction.

Author information

  • 1Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

New molecular techniques focus a genetic lens upon nicotine addiction. Given the medical and economic costs associated with smoking, innovative approaches to smoking cessation and prevention must be pursued; but can sound research be manipulated by the tobacco industry?

METHODOLOGY:

The chronological narrative of this paper was created using iterative reviews of primary sources (the Legacy Tobacco Documents), supplemented with secondary literature to provide a broader context. The empirical data inform an ethics and policy analysis of tobacco industry-funded research.

FINDINGS:

The search for a genetic basis for smoking is consistent with industry's decades-long plan to deflect responsibility away from the tobacco companies and onto individuals' genetic constitutions. Internal documents reveal long-standing support for genetic research as a strategy to relieve the tobacco industry of its legal responsibility for tobacco-related disease.

CONCLUSIONS:

Industry may turn the findings of genetics to its own ends, changing strategy from creating a 'safe' cigarette to defining a 'safe' smoker.

PMID:
20659058
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2911634
Free PMC Article
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