Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Anti-Smoking Groups that Opposed Electronic Cigarettes Accepted Money to the Tune of $2.8 Million from Pfizer Alone in 2011-2012

The eight anti-smoking organizations that have opposed electronic cigarettes and called for their removal from the market pocketed a total of $2.8 million from Big Pharma's Pfizer during 2011 and the first half of 2012, according to figures being released today by The Rest of the Story.

Based on financial contribution reports published by Pfizer, the anti-smoking groups that have called for a ban on electronic cigarettes have received millions from the pharmaceutical manufacturer of Chantix, a smoking cessation product that stands to lose enormously if electronic cigarettes become increasingly popular. These organizations have repeatedly failed to disclose their financial interests in Big Pharma when making statements opposing electronic cigarettes.

The numbers compiled by The Rest of the Story are as follows (these represent Pfizer money received by each anti-smoking group during 2011 and the first two quarters of 2012):

American Academy of Pediatrics: $720,800
American Cancer Society: $252,750
American Heart Association: $136,000
American Lung Association: $190,250
Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: $100,000
American Medical Association: $857,500
American Legacy Foundation: $300,000
Action on Smoking and Health: $200,000

GRAND TOTAL: $2,757,300

The Rest of the Story

These figures illustrate how strong a financial interest the major national anti-smoking groups have in Big Pharma and help explain the entrenched position of these groups against electronic cigarettes. These data also help explain why these groups continue to promote drug therapy for smoking cessation despite evidence of its dismal rates of effectiveness.

These are the primary anti-smoking groups that called for the removal of electronic cigarettes from the market. Each of these groups, for example, submitted an amicus brief urging the D.C. District Court to allow the FDA to ban electronic cigarettes by regulating them under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, even in the absence of therapeutic claims made by product manufacturers. Had the recommended action of these groups been taken, literally thousands of ex-smokers would instead be smokers today because electronic cigarettes have been their means to achieve smoke-free status.

In their amicus briefs, none of these anti-smoking groups disclosed their financial ties to Big Pharma. Nor have they disclosed these severe financial conflicts of interest in public statements or website pages opposing electronic cigarette use.

Today, we find out that each and every one of these eight anti-smoking groups has accepted funding from Big Pharma and more importantly, from a Big Pharma company that manufactures a smoking cessation drug that is a direct competitor to electronic cigarettes.

Moreover, the amount of money involved is substantial. Each of these groups received at least $100,000 in an 18-month period alone, and the total amount of money received by the eight groups during this period from Pfizer alone exceeds $2.75 million.

Now it is starting to make sense why these groups opposed a product that is helping literally thousands of ex-smokers to remain smoke-free and helping hundreds of thousands more to greatly reduce the amount of cigarettes that they smoke.

When public health groups start to oppose public health measures, you need to start suspecting that money is playing a role. Today's revelation demonstrates that in the case of anti-smoking group opposition to electronic cigarettes, the money being received from Big Pharma is working to perfection. These groups are vigorously protecting pharmaceutical profits, even at the expense of severe harm to the public health and their abrogation of ethical integrity by failing to even disclose their conflicts of interest to the public.

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