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HEALTH: British American Tobacco tries to smoke out the public health message.

HEALTH: British American Tobacco tries to smoke out the public health message.

A few days ago, letters were sent by British American Tobacco to public health actors. Reassembled, Professor Bertrand Dautzenberg denounces this " invitation to cooperate with tobacco companies in order to smoke the public health message and increase their profits". For its part, Alliance against tobacco denounced these letters and this lobbying operation.


«It is a very organized lobbying operation, a classic strategy of the tobacco industry. For decades, they have done everything to confuse and keep selling their productsExclaims on the phone the Prof. Bertrand Dautzenberg, pneumologist at Pitié-Salpêtrière and Secretary General of the Alliance against Tobacco. The doctor is particularly upset by the letter sent to him by the Director of Public Affairs, Legal Affairs and Communication of British American Tobacco (BAT).

The letter from the representative of the “world tobacco leader” group, sent by registered mail with acknowledgment of receipt, is nevertheless very courteous. He simply asks to meet Professor Dautzenberg, claiming that he “is necessary to change software regarding the fight against smoking". In fact, the mail sent to the Parisian pneumologist is part of a vast communication campaign, with many doctors, pulmonologists and psychiatrists (addictologists). "Since the July 11 2017, all tobacco control players involved in the field of risk reduction, receive a letter from British American Tobacco, the most aggressive tobacco company, inviting them supposedly to dialogue", Rants Professor Dautzenberg, who posted a facsimile of the letter on the social network Twitter.

In a statement, the Alliance against Tobacco therefore strongly denounces this campaign by recalling that "Article 5.3 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ratified by France, calls for the strictest contact with tobacco companies to be kept to a minimum and under draconian conditions. Their objectives are in total contradiction with those of public health!».

But if the cigarette maker really wants "accelerate the switchover from smokers to less risky modes of consumptionAs he says, why should doctors refuse to cooperate with this initiative that could theoretically save lives?


For Professor Dautzenberg, the operation is an attempt to standardize the new products invented by tobacco companies, heated tobacco, without combustion, to surf on the success of vaping, electronic cigarettes. These products, Ploom from Japan Tobacco, Iqos from Philip Morris or Glo from BAT, are hybrid devices between cigarettes and vapers. They work with refills containing tobacco and an electrical resistance that allows it to be heated and to produce vapors. They are presented as much less harmful than cigarettes by manufacturers, without the most toxic products from combustion (tars, carbon monoxide, etc.).

These devices and their refills are a great success in Japan, where tobacco advertising is still allowed. The phenomenon has nothing to do with Europe, where they fall under the ban of advertising of tobacco products. Hence the desire of manufacturers to present them as devices that can help smokers quit smoking. They could thus promote it without restriction.

«The manufacturers swear that this heated tobacco is less toxic than the cigarette, but it is not proven at all, and there must be some combustion anyway since there are traces of carbon monoxide in the vapors , remarks Professor Dautzenberg. Today, tobacco kills one of its faithful consumers out of two. Even though "low-risk" tobaccos kill only one in three or one in ten, or even one in a hundred, this is unacceptable.»

The pulmonologist recalls that the same logic of "public health" had been put forward more than fifty years ago when the first cigarettes with filter, presented as much less irritating for the throat by thousands of people, were put on the market. American doctors. A reality that concealed a still important risk: "because of this less irritation of the throat, the smoke was inhaled deeper into the lungs, exploding the risk of emphysema and adenocarcinoma-like cancer, just as dangerous as cancers of large bronchi"He says.

US tobacco company Philip Morris International is secretly campaigning to undermine the World Health Organization's (WHO) international tobacco control agreement, internal group documents seen by Reuters show. In internal emails, senior executives at Philip Morris take credit for weakening certain measures of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), signed in 2003 and whose 168 signatory parties are meeting every two years.

The FCTC treaty has prompted dozens of states to increase tobacco taxes, pass laws banning smoking in public spaces, and toughen warning messages. One of Philip Morris's goals has been to increase the attendance of non-health agency delegates to biennial FCTC meetings. An objective achieved, because the delegations now include more representatives of ministries linked to taxes, finance and agriculture likely to insist on the revenues of the tobacco industry rather than on its misdeeds.

Source : Le Figaro / Twitter

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Editor-in-chief of, the reference site for vaping news. Engaged in the world of vaping since 2014, I work every day to ensure that all vapers and smokers are informed.