Tobacco papers and tobacco industry ties in regulatory toxicology and pharmacology


We examined the relationship between the tobacco industry and the journal Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology (RTP) using the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents Library and internet sources. We determined the funding relationships, and categorised the conclusions of all 52 RTP papers on tobacco or nicotine between January 2013 and June 2015, as “positive”, “negative” or “neutral” for the tobacco industry. RTP’s editor, 57% (4/7) of associate editors and 37% (14/38) of editorial board members had worked or consulted for tobacco companies. Almost all (96%, 50/52) of the papers had authors with tobacco industry ties. Seventy-six percent (38/50) of these papers drew conclusions positive for industry; none drew negative conclusions. The two papers by authors not related to the tobacco industry reached conclusions negative to the industry (p < .001). These results call into question the confidence that members of the scientific community and tobacco product regulators worldwide can have in the conclusions of papers published in RTP.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Wertz MS, Kyriss T, Paranjape S, Glantz SA. The toxic effects of cigarette additives. Philip Morris’ project mix reconsidered: an analysis of documents released through litigation. PLoS Med. 2011;8(12):e1001145.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Garne D, Watson M, Chapman S, Byrne F. Environmental tobacco smoke research published in the journal Indoor and Built Environment and associations with the tobacco industry. Lancet. 2005;365(9461):804–9.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Schick SF, Glantz SA. Old ways, new means: tobacco industry funding of academic and private sector scientists since the Master Settlement Agreement. Tob Control. 2007;16(3):157–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Barnes DE, Bero LA. Why review articles on the health effects of passive smoking reach different conclusions. JAMA. 1998;279(19):1566–70.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Scollo M, Lal A, Hyland A, Glantz S. Review of the quality of studies on the economic effects of smoke-free policies on the hospitality industry. Tob Control. 2003;12(1):13–20.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Correspondence about Publication Ethics and Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2003;9(4):386–1.

  7. 7.

    Center for Public Integrity. Brokers of junk science? Two scientific journals known for their industry ties have become go-to publications for researchers who minimize risks from chemicals. 2016. Accessed 26 Dec 2016.

  8. 8.

    Thacker PT. Inside the Academic Journal That Corporations Love. 2017. Accessed 24 Apr 2017.

  9. 9.

    PMI Science, Philip Morris International. What is heat-not-burn? Toxicological Assessment. 2017. Accessed 11 May 2017.

  10. 10.

    Center for Science in the Public Interest. Re: Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 2002. Accessed 26 Dec 2016.

  11. 11.

    Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology Editorial Board. 2016. Accessed 26 Dec 2016.

  12. 12.

    Barnes DE, Bero LA. Industry-funded research and conflict of interest: an analysis of research sponsored by the tobacco industry through the Center for Indoor Air Research. J Health Polit Policy Law. 1996;21(3):515–42.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Cataldo JK, Prochaska JJ, Glantz SA. Cigarette smoking is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease: an analysis controlling for tobacco industry affiliation. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;19(2):465–80.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Swaen GM, Meijers JM. Influence of design characteristics on the outcome of retrospective cohort studies. Br J Ind Med. 1988;45(9):624–9.

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Davidson RA. Source of funding and outcome of clinical trials. J Gen Intern Med. 1986;1(3):155–8.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Cho MK, Bero LA. The quality of drug studies published in symposium proceedings. Ann Intern Med. 1996;124(5):485–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Rochon PA, Gurwitz JH, Simms RW, et al. A study of manufacturer-supported trials of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the treatment of arthritis. Arch Intern Med. 1994;154(2):157–63.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Huss A, Egger M, Hug K, Huwiler-Muntener K, Roosli M. Source of funding and results of studies of health effects of mobile phone use: systematic review of experimental studies. Environ Health Perspect. 2007;115(1):1–4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Schillinger D, Tran J, Mangurian C, Kearns C. Do sugar-sweetened beverages cause obesity and diabetes? Industry and the manufacture of scientific controversy. Ann Intern Med. 2016;165(12):895–7.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology Editorial Board June 2015. Accessed 2 Jul 2017.

  21. 21.

    Brown & Williamson Funded Projects. 1987. Brown & Williamson. Accessed 07 Aug 2015.

  22. 22.

    Ligett W. Agreement for establishment of the Franklin Institute Center for Policy Studies and employment of Dr. Gio Batta Gori as director. February 06. 1980. Brown & Williamson. Accessed 07 Aug 2015.

  23. 23.

    Chilcote S. [List of scientists who consult with the industry on ETS and indoor air issues]. August 22. 1989. Lorillard. Accessed 07 Aug 2015.

  24. 24.

    ETS/IAQ scientific consultants. 1989. Lorillard. Accessed 07 Aug 2015.

  25. 25.

    Judge Gladys Kessler. Final Opinion: United States of America v. Philip Morris Incorporated, et al. Civil Action No. 99-2496. 2006.

  26. 26.

    Goodman J. Expenses incurred in connection with my participation in the RJR Science Advisory Board meeting, November 15 & 16, 2004. November 17. 2005. RJ Reynolds Records. Accessed 18 Jan 2017.

  27. 27.

    Hayes A. Biographical material on Dr. A. Wallace Hayes. Vice President—Biochemical/Behavioral Research R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Winston-Salem North-Carolina. November. 1989. RJ Reynolds. Accessed 07 Aug 2015.

  28. 28.

    Philip Morris Stiftung. 2017. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  29. 29.

    Wikipedia. Philip Morris Forschungspreis. 2017. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  30. 30.

    Wikipedia. Friedhelm_Korte. 2017. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  31. 31.

    Philip Morris Inc, Pariza M, Solana R. Amendment No. 1 to the agreement dated 1 Oct 1998 between Philip Morris Incorporated and Michael W. Pariza Consulting LLC. May 30. 2000. Philip Morris. Accessed 07 Aug 2015.

  32. 32.

    Young C, Quinn E. Food safety scientists have ties to Big Tobacco. 2015. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  33. 33.

    Charles J. Notes for the Philip Morris USA Product Integrity Scientific Advisory Board Meeting, 990708. July 12. 1999. Philip Morris Records. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  34. 34.

    Sourcewatch. Alex Malaspina. 2017. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  35. 35.

    BTS Committee: Professor P Baldrick. 2017. Accessed 24 Apr 2017.

  36. 36.

    Non, -Voting Industry Representatives of the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee. THE INDUSTRY MENTHOL REPORT: Menthol Cigarettes: No Disproportionate Impact on Public Health. 2011. Accessed 24 Apr 2017.

  37. 37.

    Burdock G. Invoice. December 03. 1995. Philip Morris. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  38. 38.

    Philip Morris Inc, Burdock G, Ellis C. Agreement for independent contractor services between George A. Burdock Ph.D. and Philip Morris Incorporated. October 09. 1997. Philip Morris. Accessed 12 August 2015.

  39. 39.

    Burdock Associates, Philip Morris Inc, Burdock G, Solana R. Agreement for independent contractor services between Burdock & Associates, Inc. and Philip Morris Incorporated January 02. 2001. Philip Morris. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  40. 40.

    Center for Public Integrity. One-stop science shop has become a favorite of industry—and Texas. 2014. Accessed 26 Dec 2016.

  41. 41.

    Sourcewatch. W Gary Flamm. 2017.

  42. 42.

    Flamm W. Invoice for September 1995. October. 1995. Philip Morris Records. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  43. 43.

    Carchman R. Notes of the Philip Morris USA Scientific Advisory Board meeting October 1-3, 2002. October 30. 2002. Philip Morris. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  44. 44.

    Oldaker GI, Center for Indoor Air Research. Letter confirming agreement between the Center for Indoor Air Research and Environ Corporation concerning the Hirayama study to be performed by Dr. Michael E. Ginevan July 14. 1988. RJ Reynolds. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  45. 45.

    Henschler D. Thank you very much indeed for sending, with letter of 1st September 1980, a renewed contract for financial support of our research project. September 09. 1980. RJ Reynolds Records. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  46. 46.

    Henschler D. Application for Research Grant on Quantitative Aspects of Chemical Carcinogenesis. December 16. 1977. RJ Reynolds Records. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  47. 47.

    Gruben F, Henschler D. Wir Bitten Sie, Das in Ihrem an Herrn Dr. Colby Genrichteten Schreiben Vom 31. Januar 1978 Umschriebene Forschungsvorhaben Nach Massgabe der Nachstehenden Regelungen Durchzufuhren Und Stellen Ihnen zu Diesem Zweck Eine Gesamtsumme von Insgesamt. July 14. 1978. RJ Reynolds Records. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  48. 48.

    Hutt P. Confidentiality Agreement. July 02. 1987. RJ Reynolds Records; Oklahoma Privilege Downgrades Collection. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  49. 49.

    Field R. Statement: Richard Daynard. December 01. 1987. RJ Reynolds Records. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  50. 50.

    Hutt PB. New Cigarette. August 20. 1987. RJ Reynolds Records; Congressman Bliley Philip Morris Collection. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  51. 51.

    Covington. Peter Hutt. 2017. Accessed 12 May 2017.

  52. 52.

    Burger GT, Myers GM, Maxim D. Rjr Contract No. 99-7771-038. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company (Hereinafter “Rjr”) Has Developed a New Cigarette Product. November 19. 1999. RJ Reynolds Records. Accessed 11 May 2017.

  53. 53.

    Serbian Smoking Reduction/Cessation Trial (2SRT) (2SRT). 2013. Accessed 24 Apr 2017.

  54. 54.

    Joksic G, Spasojevic-Tisma V, Antic R, Nilsson R, Rutqvist LE. Randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of Swedish snus for smoking reduction and cessation. Harm Reduct J. 2011;8:25.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  55. 55.

    Colucci AV, Colucci Associates. [Letter from Anthony V Colucci to Jeffrey Furr regarding State of California Air Resources Board request for information regarding environmental tobacco smoke dated June 6, 1989, and the U.S. EPA’S report to Congress on indoor air quality Executive Summary and Recommendations] June 22. 1989. RJ Reynolds; Bliley. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  56. 56.

    Beveridge & Diamond PC, Diamond H. [Letter regarding questions about billing practices]. December 30. 1994. Philip Morris. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  57. 57.

    Raul A. Regulatory Matrix August 17. 1995. Philip Morris. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  58. 58.

    RJ Reynolds. Contract Activity for Research & Development Department December 28, 1988 to January 25, 1989 February 08. 1989. RJ Reynolds. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  59. 59.

    Scientific Advisory Board Meeting November 05. 1990. RJ Reynolds. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  60. 60.

    RJR-Nabisco Scientific Advisory Board Meeting June 10. 1991. RJ Reynolds. Accessed 12 Aug 2015.

  61. 61.

    Toxicology Forum. Richard Adamson, TPN Associates 2015. Accessed 15 June 2015.

  62. 62.

    Loop. Hugh A Barton. 2015. Accessed 25 Aug 2015.

  63. 63.

    Exponent. Michael P. Bolger, Ph.D., DABT. 2016. Accessed 17 Jan 2017.

  64. 64.

    ToxConsult: Toxicology Consulting Australizaia. Dr. Roger Drew. 2017. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  65. 65.

    Drew R. Health Risk & Toxicological Assessment of Emissions from the Upgraded Alcoa Pinjarra Alumina Refinery (Prepared for: Environ Australia Pty Ltd. on behalf of Alcoa World Alumina Austra). 2003. Accessed 10 May 2017.

  66. 66.

    Javed N. Cellphones and health: Panel chair accused of conflict. 2013. Accessed 11 May 2017.

  67. 67.

    Processo Montedison: « Tumori? Soltanto Dio può sapere » . 2014.

  68. 68.

    Prof. Dr. Jüergen Pauluhn. Accessed 26 Dec 2016.

  69. 69.

    Center for Public Integrity. Benzene and worker cancers: ‘An American tragedy’. 2014. Accessed 26 Aug 2015.

  70. 70.

    Fabbri A, Chartres N, Scrinis G, Bero LA. Study sponsorship and the nutrition research agenda: analysis of randomized controlled trials included in systematic reviews of nutrition interventions to address obesity. Public Health Nutr. 2017;20(7):1306–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  71. 71.

    Mandrioli D, Kearns CE, Bero LA. Relationship between research outcomes and risk of bias, study sponsorship, and author financial conflicts of interest in reviews of the effects of artificially sweetened beverages on weight outcomes: a systematic review of reviews. PLoS ONE. 2016;11(9):e0162198.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  72. 72.

    Appleton S, Olegario RM, Lipowicz PJ. TSNA levels in machine-generated mainstream cigarette smoke: 35 years of data. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013;66(2):197–207.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  73. 73.

    Appleton S, Olegario RM, Lipowicz PJ. TSNA exposure from cigarette smoking: 18 years of urinary NNAL excretion data. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014;68(2):269–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  74. 74.

    Shepperd CJ, Eldridge A, Camacho OM, McAdam K, Proctor CJ, Meyer I. Changes in levels of biomarkers of exposure observed in a controlled study of smokers switched from conventional to reduced toxicant prototype cigarettes. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2013;66(1):147–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  75. 75.

    Sakaguchi C, Kakehi A, Minami N, Kikuchi A, Futamura Y. Exposure evaluation of adult male Japanese smokers switched to a heated cigarette in a controlled clinical setting. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014;69(3):338–47.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  76. 76.

    Tayyarah R, Long GA. Comparison of select analytes in aerosol from e-cigarettes with smoke from conventional cigarettes and with ambient air. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014;70(3):704–10.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  77. 77.

    Philip Morris Products S.A., PMI Research & Development. MRTPA Section 2.7 Executive Summary. 2017.

  78. 78.

    US Food and Drug Administration. Philip Morris Products S.A. Modified Risk Tobacco Product (MRTP) Applications. 2017. Accessed 1 Oct 2017.

  79. 79.

    US Food and Drug Administration. Tobacco Product Standard for N-Nitrosonornicotine Level in Finished Smokeless Tobacco Products [Docket No. FDA–2016–N–2527]. 2017. Accessed 1 Oct 2017.

  80. 80.

    US Food and Drug Administration. Deeming Tobacco Products To Be Subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, as Amended by the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act; Restrictions on the Sale and Distribution of Tobacco Products and Required Warning Statements for Tobacco Products (final rule) [Docket No. FDA–2014–N–0189] 2016;. Accessed 1 Oct 2017.

  81. 81.

    Bitton A, Neuman MD, Barnoya J, Glantz SA. The p53 tumour suppressor gene and the tobacco industry: research, debate, and conflict of interest. Lancet. 2005;365(9458):531–40.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was funded by National Cancer Institute Grant CA-087472. The funding agency played no role in the conduct of the research or preparation of the manuscript.

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Stanton A. Glantz.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Velicer, C., St. Helen, G. & Glantz, S.A. Tobacco papers and tobacco industry ties in regulatory toxicology and pharmacology . J Public Health Pol 39, 34–48 (2018).

Download citation


  • Conflict of interest
  • Tobacco industry
  • Journal bias
  • Regulatory policy