The 2012 National Conference on Tobacco or Health will be held next July in Kansas City.
Among the program areas to be discussed are:
1. Cessation: "Includes reimbursement and insurance issues; telephone quitline services; innovative methods; cessation programs in the workplace, health care, or other settings; cessation programs for youth and adults; cessation interventions for specific populations; and cessation training programs and certification."
2. Non-Cigarette Tobacco and Nicotine Products: "Includes smokeless tobacco prevention strategies of smokeless tobacco industry strategies; e.g. rodeo sponsorships; alternative nicotine delivery devices and related products; and smokeless tobacco and alternative products as harm reduction."
In my view, it is impossible for an objective discussion of smoking cessation treatment (e.g., the effectiveness of pharmaceuticals) and alternative nicotine delivery products (such as electronic cigarettes) to take place at a conference sponsored by pharmaceutical companies.
For example, imagine that the conference were being sponsored by an electronic cigarette company. Arguably, tobacco control advocates from across the country would vigorously protest, demanding that the sponsorship be rescinded because no objective consideration of the role of electronic cigarettes in tobacco control can take place at a conference where money is coming in from the electronic cigarette companies.
Well the same is true with pharmaceutical sponsorship. How can the role of smoking cessation drugs be objectively considered at a conference sponsored by the manufacturers of those very products?
The Rest of the Story
While the 2012 sponsors of the National Conference on Tobacco or Health have not yet been announced, I put the early odd of the conference not accepting Big Pharma sponsorship at 13:1. On its web site page seeking sponsors, the conference is highlighting its past sponsorship by pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline. This seems to indicate a willingness, if not a desire, to obtain pharmaceutical sponsorship again this year for the 2012 conference.
For the betters among you, I have the over-under at $20,000.