Brad Rodu

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Brad Rodu is Professor of Medicine at the University of Louisville in Kentucky (United States), and senior scientist at its James Graham Brown Cancer Center.[1] Rodu has a background in dentistry and oral pathology and his research focuses on tobacco harm reduction, which he promotes on his blog Tobacco Truth. Rodu has worked closely with Carl V Phillips, and Joel Nitzkin.

Tobacco Industry Affiliations

Previous Affiliations

Between 2000 and 2009, Rodu worked with tobacco company RJ Reynolds assisting promoting industry positions on harm reduction.[2][3][4][5]

Before moving to Louisville, Rodu was supported in part by an unrestricted gift from the United States Smokeless Tobacco Company to the Tobacco Research Fund of the University of Alabama at Birmingham.[6]

Current Funding

Rodu's research is supported by unrestricted grants from tobacco manufacturers to the University of Louisville and by the Kentucky Research Challenge Trust Fund.[7][8]

At the University of Louisville, Rodu is a Professor of Medicine focusing on Tobacco Harm Reduction and his research is partly funded by the industry. The endowed chair at the University of Louisville and research funds were created by the James Graham Brown Cancer Center using more than $3 million in unrestricted gifts by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company and Swedish Match North America, Inc. to the University of Louisville.

At the Buck for Brains section of the website, the University emphasizes that the money comes with no strings attached: “The sponsors have no influence over the chair holder’s research. The funds and the chair are part of the “Finding Answers to Cancer” campaign. The university matched this commitment in part by the state’s Research Challenge Trust Fund.[9]

Links to Industry-Funded Think Tanks

Rodu is a Senior Fellow of the Heartland Institute,[10], which does not disclose its funders, although it has been funded by Philip Morris, and used to have a Philip Morris manager, Roy Marden, on the Institute’s board.[11][12][13]

Rodu is also an Associate Fellow to R Street Institute, which split from the Heartland Institute in 2012 and which has also received tobacco industry funding.[14][15]

Industry Events

Rodu has been listed as a speaker at various tobacco industry events, including:

  • January 2013: Keynote speaker at the Tobacco Plus Expo International, a tobacco industry trade fair to discuss “How has the tobacco retail business evolved; where was it fifteen years ago, where is it today and where is it going”.[16]
  • June 2012: Was originally listed as a speaker at the 2012 Global Tobacco Networking Forum (from 2015 known as the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum)[17], however Rodu's name disappeared of the speakers' list in April 2012.[18]
  • November 2011: Listed speaker at TabExpo in Prague.[19]
  • September 2007: Keynote speaker on the industry organised 1st Harm Reduction Symposium: An Alternative Strategy for Smokers in Japan.[20] The symposium was organised by the European Smokeless Tobacco Council (ESTOC), sponsored by British American Tobacco and supported by Swedish Match. Other speakers were Stefan Noreen (Swedish Ambassador to Japan), Bengt Jonsson (Vice President for Smokeless Operations Asia, Swedish Match), Dr Shintaro Sengoku (Lecturer, University of Tokyo, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences), and Justine Williamson (International Scientific Engagement Manager, BAT).[21]

In May 2018, Rodu contacted the University of Bath to state: "I did not make a presentation or attend the meetings in Prague (2011) and Antwerp (2012)." [22]


  1., Curriculum Vitae Brad Rodu, undated, accessed August 2011
  2. S. Glantz, Addiction refuses to allow discussion of industry ties to criticism of our “softening paper”, University of California, San Francisco, 3 May 2016
  3. J.D. Debethizy, D. J. Doolittle, B. Rodu, Follow up from Brad Rodu, 2000 April 26, RJ Reynolds, Tobacco Industry Truth Documents, Bates no: 527942927-527942928, accessed May 2016
  4. S. C. Hawkins, TTM - Brad Rodu for 122006 (20061200).PPT RJ Reynolds, 1 December 2008, accessed May 2016
  5. T. J. Payne, B. Rodu, Thanks. The following studies (attached) provide almost identical evidence that appropriate marketing of smokeless products would result in a 10% drop in smoking prevalence, RJ Reynolds, 27 February 2009 – 2 March 2009, accessed May 2016.
  6. B. Rodu, P. Cole, A deficient study of smokeless tobacco use and cancer, International Journal of Cancer 118: 1585; author reply 1586-1587, October 2005, accessed May 2016
  7. B. Rodu,Tobacco Truth blogspot, undated, accessed 29 March 2012
  8. TR Staff Report. Common Ground. Tobacco Reporter, February 2011, accessed August 2011
  9. University of Louisville, Endowed Chair in Tobacco Harm Reduction Research, undated, accessed May 2016
  10. Heartland Institute, Brad Rodu, Website, accessed May 2016
  11. J. Smith, S. Thompson, K. Lee, The atlas network: a “strategic ally” of the tobacco industry, International Journal of Health Planning and Management 2016, DOI: 10.1002/hpm.2351
  12. S. Glantz, Addiction refuses to allow discussion of industry ties to criticism of our “softening paper”, University of California, San Francisco, 3 May 2016
  13. Center For Media and Democracy, Heartland Institute and tobacco, Sourcewatch, undated, accessed May 2016
  14. R. Street, Brad Rodu, accessed May 2016
  15. Email Stringh Between Stan Glantz and Joel Nitzkin, Nitzkin email string, University of California, San Francisco, 2013, accessed May 2016
  16. TPE 2013, TPE 2013 Keynote: Thursday, January 31, 2013 TPE website, accessed May 2016
  17. GTNF ANTWERP 2012: Look who is talking and what they are talking about, GTNF 2012 website, undated, accessed February 2012
  18. GTNF ANTWERP 2012: Look who is talking and what they are talking about, GTNF 2012 website, undated, accessed April 2012
  19. TR Staff Report. Strong Line Up. Tobacco Reporter, July 2011, accessed August 2011
  20. British American Tobacco, Harm reduction symposium, 22 April 2008, accessed August 2011
  21. European Smokeless Tobacco Council, 1st Tobacco Harm Reduction Symposium: An Alternative Strategy for Smokers. 13 September 2007
  22. B.Rodu, Email to the University of Bath, 15 May 2018