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WHO accuses big tobacco – Evidence uncovered in lawsuit

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A report commissioned by the World Health Organization accuses tobacco companies of maneuvering to undermine its campaign to reduce smoking around the globe, the Associated Press reported August 2.

“On the basis of the volume of attempted and successful acts of subversion identified in its limited search, it is reasonable to believe that the tobacco companies’ subversion of WHO’s tobacco control activities has resulted in significant harm,” the experts’ report said.

The study accuses the companies of a variety of dubious practices, including inserting their own consultants into WHO positions and lobbying delegates from developing countries to resist anti-tobacco resolutions.

The report also found that tobacco companies often worked in secret, for example by secretly funding “independent” experts to conduct research, appear at conferences and lobby WHO scientists.

One of the companies named, Philip Morris, insisted that it has exerted no improper influence, and that it has neither altered WHO’s public health messages nor obstructed any of the agency’s initiatives.

The documents reviewed for the report came from the 30 million made public during a lawsuit by the state of Minnesota against the tobacco industry that resulted in the companies paying out $6.6 billion.

For full story, go to USA Today.

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