Tobacco lobby criticises museum over exhibition

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The Independent Online
THE SCIENCE Museum has come under 'unprecedented' pressure in the propaganda war about passive smoking, with a pro-tobacco organisation suggesting a museum exhibition on the subject is promoting 'junk science', writes Steve Connor.

When the museum was planning its exhibition it was contacted by tobacco lobbyists concerned that it would not present their case, Professor John Durant, who prepared the scientific material for the display, said.

The Tobacco Advisory Council, funded by the cigarette industry, and the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco (Forest) contacted the museum to argue the case against passive smoking causing illness and death. Chris Tame, director of Forest, said: 'The public must be seriously concerned about whether it is being made a victim of junk science.'

Professor Durant said that the museum went ahead with the exhibition because respected scientists believe that passive smoking raises the risk of lung cancer by up to 30 per cent, causing 300 deaths a year.

Two scientific reports on passive smoking - the Froggatt report in 1988 in the UK and a US Environmental Protection Agency inquiry - concluded that passive smoking was linked to deaths.

A spokesman for the Tobacco Advisory Council said: 'The scientific evidence does not demonstrate that (passive smoking) causes lung cancer, heart disease or any other disease . . .'

Passive Smoking runs until 14 March at the Science Museum.