Internationale anti-tabaksconferentie gesponsord door… Big Pharma

In juli komen anti-rokers vanuit de hele wereld in Washington bij elkaar om te praten over nóg betere methodes om rokers wereldwijd onder druk te zetten. Op de agenda staan onder andere lezingen over epidemiologische onderzoeken rond roken, het functioneren van de FCTC, de effecten van het gebruik van nicotinevervangingsmiddelen en andere lekkernijen voor deze groep bemoeials.

Wat echter niet luid wordt geroepen is het feit dat de conferentie gesponsord wordt door twee giganten op het gebied van de productie van nicotinepleisters en -kauwgum: Pfizer en GlaxoSmithKline.

Kortom, wat er uitziet als een serieus wetenschappelijk congres blijkt in de praktijk niets anders te zijn dan één grote marketingbijeenkomst voor Big Pharma!

This coming July, tobacco control researchers and advocates from all over the
world will convene in Washington, D.C. to discuss the latest science and policy
aspects of tobacco control.

Among the goals of the conference are the following:

  • Provide relevant new data on addiction, cessation, public policy,
    second-hand smoke, smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products, and various
    epidemiologic issues.
  • Examine the impact of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
  • Review the status and impact of new tobacco marketing efforts.
  • Facilitate the sharing of successful tobacco control efforts, best
    practices, and effective intervention techniques from around the world.
  • Strengthen and expand global leadership and increase the number of
    organizations and individuals engaged in the fight against tobacco.
  • Promote ideas and strategies to create societal, political, and economic
    change that will help reduce tobacco use and exposure throughout the world.
  • Promote the importance and strengthen the understanding of tobacco policy
    changes, and share strategies to promote such change.
One of the
specific topics that will be addressed at the conference is: “individual- and population-based approaches to
helping people quit smoking.”

One symposium session is entitled
“Population Impact of NRT Use.” A
workshop session will be held on “Effective
National Strategies for Tobacco Use Cessation.”
Another major topic of
discussion will be tobacco product
. Another presentation will be entitled “Tobacco Industry Sponsored Research: The Fox in
the Hen House.”

The Rest of the

There’s just one problem with the conference, and you won’t
notice it unless you examine the list of sponsors.

Two of the lead sponsors are
Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.

In and of itself, that
is not a problem.

But consider that Pfizer:

  • is the manufacturer of Nicotrol, a
    nicotine patch being promoted by the company as a smoking cessation aid;
  • apparently funds research on the
    use of chest CT screening to scare smokers into quitting smoking (and thus
    increasing the pool of potential nicotine patch users); and
  • has an FDA application in regarding a new smoking cessation
And consider that GlaxoSmithKline:

  • is the manufacturer of Nicoderm CQ, a
    nicotine patch;
  • is the manufacturer of Nicorette gum;
  • produces Wellbutrin, which
    is used in smoking cessation; and
  • apparently is researching new potential
    smoking cessation pharmaceutical aids.

Also consider that a major debate raging in the tobacco control community is
the effectiveness of, and the appropriate role of, smoking cessation
pharmaceutical aids as a tobacco control strategy.

How can you
objectively discuss the population impact of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy)
use at a conference sponsored by two of the leading nicotine replacement therapy
drug companies?

How can you objectively discuss effective national
strategies for smoking cessation at a conference sponsored by two of the leading
nicotine replacement therapy drug companies?

How can you objectively
discuss tobacco product regulation (which has major implications for the way in
which nicotine replacement therapy products are marketed) at a conference
sponsored by two of the leading nicotine replacement therapy drug

How can you objectively discuss all aspects of individual and
population-based approaches to helping people quit smoking at a conference
sponsored by two of the leading nicotine replacement therapy drug

The answer, in my opinion, is that you can’t.

You can’t
objectively discuss the appropriate role, if any, of nicotine replacement
products in a global smoking cessation strategy when the very conference you are
attending is being sponsored by perhaps the two leading companies that have a
great financial interest in the results of that discussion.

So the upshot
is that the World Conference on Tobacco or Health will not offer an objective
consideration of the potential role of nicotine replacement products in a
national and global smoking cessation strategy.

This is particularly
unfortunate given the problems that the tobacco control movement seems to be
having these days with its scientific

And it is at least slightly ironic, I
think, given that one of the topics to be discussed at the conference is
research sponsored by the tobacco industry and how the fox was apparently
guarding the hen house. In some ways, having Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline sponsor
this conference is kind of like inviting the fox into the hen house.

thing is for sure. A truly objective consideration of the appropriate role of
nicotine replacement therapy in a national and global smoking cessation strategy
is desperately needed. But such an objective review cannot and will not come out
of the 2006 World Conference on Tobacco or Health, specifically because the
chief sponsors of the conference are none other than the foxes

International Tobacco Control Conference Brought to You By … Big

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  • "Es ist schwieriger, eine vorgefaßte Meinung zu zertrümmern als ein Atom."
    (Het is moeilijker een vooroordeel aan flarden te schieten dan een atoom.)
    Albert Einstein

  • "Als je alles zou laten dat slecht is voor je gezondheid, dan ging je kapot"
    Anonieme arts

  • "The effects of other people smoking in my presence is so small it doesn't worry me."
    Sir Richard Doll, 2001

  • "Een leugen wordt de waarheid als hij maar vaak genoeg wordt herhaald"
    Joseph Goebbels, Minister van Propaganda, Nazi Duitsland

  • "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
    Mahatma Gandhi

  • "There''s no such thing as perfect air. If there was, God wouldn''t have put bristles in our noses"
    Coun. Bill Clement

  • "Better a smoking freedom than a non-smoking tyranny"
    Antonio Martino, Italiaanse Minister van Defensie

  • "If smoking cigars is not permitted in heaven, I won't go."
    Mark Twain

  • I've alllllllways said that asking smokers "do you want to quit?" and reporting the results of that question, as is, is horribly misleading. It's a TWO part question. After asking if one wants to quit it must be followed up with "Why?" Ask why and the majority of the answers will be "because I'm supposed to" (victims of guilt and propaganda), not "because I want to."
    Audrey Silk, NYCCLASH