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Am J Public Health. 2002 Jun;92(6):955-60.

Tobacco industry surveillance of public health groups: the case of STAT (Stop Teenage Addiction to Tobacco) and INFACT (Infant Formula Action Coalition).

Author information

1
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Nursing, and Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco, 94143-0936, USA. rmalone@itsa.ucsf.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

The goal of this study was to describe how the tobacco industry collects information about public health groups.

METHODS:

Publicly available internal tobacco industry documents were reviewed and analyzed using a chronological case study approach.

RESULTS:

The industry engaged in aggressive intelligence gathering, used intermediaries to obtain materials under false pretenses, sent public relations spies to the organizations' meetings, and covertly taped strategy sessions. Other industry strategies included publicly minimizing the effects of boycotts, painting health advocates as "extreme," identifying and exploiting disagreements, and planning to "redirect the funding" of tobacco control organizations to other purposes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Public health advocates often make light of tobacco industry observers, but industry surveillance may be real, intense, and covert and may obstruct public health initiatives.

PMID:
12036789
PMCID:
PMC1447494
DOI:
10.2105/ajph.92.6.955
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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