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Public Health Rep. 2006 Sep-Oct;121(5):501-8.

The tobacco industry's response to the COMMIT Trial: an analysis of legacy tobacco documents.

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Department of Health Services, University of Washington School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.


We analyzed internal tobacco industry documents that describe the industry's response to the Community Intervention Trial for Smoking Cessation (COMMIT), a multi-center community-based tobacco intervention project funded by the National Cancer Institute from 1988 to 1992. Our analysis of documents from the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library ( suggests that the tobacco industry reacted to COMMIT by (1) closely monitoring trial activities, (2) confronting COMMIT in communities where it was most active, (3) distorting COMMIT findings on underage smoking data reported in the media, and (4) using COMMIT activities as practice to strengthen their attack against the subsequent ASSIST trial, falsely accusing both studies of illegal political lobbying with taxpayers' money. The tobacco industry closely monitored COMMIT activities and organized local responses to findings and activities perceived as threatening to the industry's public image or interests. Although we could not document a concerted attack by the tobacco industry that impacted the results of the COMMIT trial, data suggest that the industry used COMMIT as a learning opportunity to mount a well orchestrated and potentially damaging response to the larger American Stop Smoking Intervention Study for Cancer Prevention Trial.

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