Enstrom and the tobacco industry

Author: Jon Krueger

1975: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/ldi79c00 Enstrom writes to CTR to ask for money; his bait: he thinks he can find causes of cancer other than smoking. Of course, the bait wouldn't be very tempting for his industry funders if it turned out that one cause was secondhand smoke. Thus Enstrom has had over 25 years of incentive to find otherwise.

1975: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/qdi79c00 Enstrom writes again to CTR asking for money

1976: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/quk2aa00 Enstrom writes to Tobacco Institute asking for help in getting CTR money; please could you do me this favor.

1979: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gov10f00 His research finds that lung cancer rates are rising in nonsmokers (see below).

1976: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/guk2aa00 Enstrom writes to CTR about his grant application

1978: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/hgi89c00 Enstrom writes to CTR to ask for money again

1990: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xoj52d00 writes Philip Morris asking for money "My epidemiological research does not deal directly with the issue of environmental tobacco smoke...However my research does deal extensively with cancer and other diseases among nonsmokers."

1991: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/aix89c00 applies for more CTR money

1992: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/xix89c00

CTR gives Enstrom a three year grant; goal of research: answer "questions regarding the amount of current mortality that can be considered directly due to cigarette smoking and the amount of current mortality that can be prevented by smoking cessation".

Enstrom's previous research (see e.g. http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gov10f00) has focused on the fact that nonsmokers get lung cancer too, so (he concludes) smoking itself can't be blamed for all those deaths.

1993: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/iix89c00 Enstrom gets $34,500 of CTR money

1994: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mix89c00 gets another $34,500 of CTR money

1995: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/gjx89c00 gets another $35,000 of CTR money

1996: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/jkx89c00 applies for more CTR money

1997: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/elx89c00 CTR offers Enstrom more money

1997: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/lkx89c00 gets another $35,000 of CTR money

1997: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/oxw91d00 asks CIAR for $425,000 to research passive smoking (grant application); probably the stuff published this month

1997: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/tww91d00 cover letter for the grant application: "For the past three years I have done consulting and research on passive smoking for Jeffrey. L. Furr of Womble Carlyle on behalf of R J Reynolds and Philip Morris." The bait: "This research has found a number of results that raise serous questions about several published findings on the relationship of passive smoking to lung cancer and other diseases".

1997: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/cmr29c00 Internal industry review of Enstrom's proposal doesn't think much of it, but notes he "seems to have good connections/resources which might be useful in the future for other issues." This is the same document that has been cited recently by health groups.

1997: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/imf37d00 grant application to "Philip Morris Research Center" The bait: "there may be a threshhold (on the order of 1 cigarette per day) below which tobacco use is not related to mortality". (What he doesn't mention is that this highly addictive product will seldom remain consumed at those levels for long).

1998: http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/mjc36d00 writes to CTR asking for more money or time (?)

In BMJ's competing interests, Enstrom states: "In recent years JEE has received funds originating from the tobacco industry". The facts are, he's been getting tobacco industry money for over 10 years -- and asking for it for over 25 years. Is this "in recent years"?

In BMJ's competing interests, Enstrom further states he took tobacco industry money "because it has been impossible for him to obtain equivalent funds from other sources". He's been asking for tobacco industry money for over 25 years. It's been impossible for him to get other funding for over 25 years?

Enstrom's disclosure of his industry connections comes across pretty mild in BMJ. He has "received funds" and only "in recent years"; the purpose is just to conduct "epidemiological research". That's not how he puts it when he's asking the tobacco industry for money. He points up his track record of work "on behalf of R J Reynolds and Philip Morris."

Enstrom also stresses his interest in being and appearing independent of his tobacco industry funding. But that's not how he puts it when he's asking the tobacco industry for money. He practically dangles results before them: I could find that not all lung cancer comes from smoking, I could find that a little smoking isn't as bad as thought, I could find that secondhand smoke isn't that bad for you. That's what the record here shows.

In short, Enstrom's 25 years of begging the tobacco industry for money does not square with his claim today that he's just "received" money and just "in recent years". He's been trying to get tobacco industry money for a quarter century, and it finally started to pay off about 10 years ago, to the tune of over half a million dollars. In return, it appears he has delivered a study amazingly useful to his sponsor.