Jean King: This industry should be kept away from young people

Share
Related Topics

Tobacco is the only consumer product that kills one in two long-term users. It remains the preventable cause of more than a quarter of all cancer deaths in the UK. The tobacco industry has funded misleading research and seeks to gain unwarranted respectability by association with credible bodies such as universities.

Cancer Research UK has always taken a strong position against the tobacco industry. Because smoking kills five times more people than road accidents, overdoses, murder, suicide and HIV put together, it is worth trying to understand this complex addiction and it is vital to prevent young people from starting to smoke and to help those who want to quit.

The World Health Organisation has clearly set out how the industry uses tactics to try to rehabilitate its image, such as funding worthy causes as part of a corporate social responsibility agenda. The tobacco industry's own documents highlight that most of its youth smoking prevention campaigns are designed to promote the industry's political and marketing aims rather than to reduce smoking.

Studies have shown how the industry has sought systematically to distort the scientific evidence on the harmful effects of tobacco, especially in relation to second-hand smoke. Scientists have been paid by the tobacco industry to speak at scientific and political forums, and to write letters and papers disputing the evidence on the harm caused by tobacco and second-hand smoking.

Attempts have been made to infiltrate scientific institutions such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer which has led to a WHO investigation. Studies have been commissioned which aim to cast doubt on the evidence of the harmful effects of second-hand smoke either by producing findings counter to major influential studies or by proposing other confounding factors, such as diet, as being the harmful factors.

The charity ASH recently documented how the tobacco industry uses front groups to put across its arguments including funding bodies to lobby politicians to fight against measures to remove tobacco displays from shops.

There is a direct conflict between the interests of tobacco companies and those of public health and it is our duty to ensure that this industry is denied any opportunity to influence tobacco control policy.

The writer is director of Tobacco Control at Cancer Research UK

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Defendant Personal Injury 2+PQE

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - NICHE DEFENDANT FIRM - Defendant Pe...

Java Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: JAVA DEVELO...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer

£475 - £550 per day: Progressive Recruitment: MDAX / Dynamics AX / Microsoft D...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Fist bumps will never replace the handshake - we're just not cool enough

Jessica Brown Jessica Brown
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on