For half a century beginning in the 1920s, tobacco companies continued a campaign to manipulate throat doctors - primarily with money - into helping calm the public's growing fears that smoking might not be good for you.
Most shocking about this was that many of the most well-respected leaders in the field of otolaryngology got on board with this campaign - testifying before Congress, recommending certain brands of cigarettees to their patients - into the 1970s when the scientific evidence pointing to the hazards of smoking had become overwhelming.
In a story I wrote for Inside Stanford Medicine today, Robert Jackler, MD, professor and chair of otolaryngology at Stanford, discussed his latest study on the manipulation of doctors by Big Tobacco. The paper appears in this month's issue of Laryngoscope. An otolaryngologist himself, Jackler found the results of his research particularly disheartening:
Tobacco companies dreamed up slogans such as, 'Not one single case of throat irritation with Camels;' then, to justify their advertising claims, marketing departments sought out pliant doctors to conduct well-compensated, pseudoscientific'research,' which invariably found the sponsoring company's cigarettes to be safe.
Previously: A conversation about the FDA’s new graphic health warnings for cigarettes, Early anti-smoking advocate: King James I of England? and NPR’s Picture Show highlights Stanford collection of cigarette ads