Tobacco industry conflicts of interest not declared in academic publications


New research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health reveals how researchers with links to the tobacco industry are failing to declare these conflicts of interest (COI) in academic publications.  

The authors of the study contacted tobacco control experts for nominations of researchers suspected to have tobacco industry COIs, that had published papers on tobacco, e-cigarettes, and related products. 

Focusing on the 10 most frequently nominated researchers, information was gathered from several resources, including Tobacco Tactics, to confirm the suspected conflicts of interest. The authors then conduced a systematic search of scientific databases to identify publications from the nominated researchers.  They found that of 553 academic papers, more than half had incomplete declarations or no declaration of conflicts of interest. 

Speaking to the Guardian, co-author Prof Jonine Jancey of Curtin University said, “When you think that people who work in the scientific community should be objective, it is incredibly disappointing and concerning.” 

The authors suggest that existing publication guidelines could be more robust to ensure transparency, and call on new approaches to be trialled.  

Read the paper here:  

McDonald, A. McCauskand, K. Thomas, L. Daube, M. Jancey, J. Smoke and mirrors? Conflict of interest declarations in tobacco and e-cigarette-related academic publications. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. Published online: 23 May 2023. doi: 10.1016/j.anzjph.2023.100055  

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