Christopher J. Proctor

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Background

Christopher J. Proctor started working for British American Tobacco in 1983. Since then he has had several roles in the tobacco company, focused on tobacco research. He is listed as the Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Scientific Product Stewardship for British American Tobacco by BAT and on his LinkedIn profile. 1In March 2020 he was also listed as Head of Possible Reduced Risk Products Science.2

Career with British American Tobacco and other roles

Since 1983, Proctor has had numerous roles linked to the tobacco industry:

  • 1983-1990: Senior Research Scientist at British American Tobacco Company in Southampton, UK. 3
  • 1990-1993: Senior scientific advisor for the Washington D.C. law firm Covington & Burling. This law firm has a history of legally representing and consulting on corporate affairs for the tobacco industry.45  6
  • 1993-2020: returned to BAT to focus on research on nicotine and tobacco as Chief Scientific Officer and Head of the Scientific Product Stewardship. 1

Links with Government officials and International Organisations

United Kingdom Parliament:

Proctor was a witness in the UK Parliamentary Select Committee on Science and Technology inquiry into e-cigarettes that took place in February 2018.Proctor was joined by tobacco industry colleagues from Philip Morris International, and Japan Tobacco International. Proctor gave evidence regarding the process of developing e-cigarettes and next generation products. He described BAT´s work as: “a journey in two ways: first, to be more satisfying; and, secondly, to be safer. That is where we are going”. 7 Proctor also took advantage of this opportunity to lobby against the Tobacco Products Directive. 7

European Union Commission:

Proctor chaired the steering group established by the Risk Forum of the European Policy Centre, supported at that time by the European Union Commission, in 2005.The European Risk Forum is a think-tank focused analysing the quality of risk assessment and risk management decisions at the EU level. Proctor was already working at BAT.8 9

World Health Organization (WHO)

In the Truth Tobacco Industry Documents, there is evidence of Proctor lobbying to present at a meeting at WHO on BAT´s views of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Proctor  promoted the need for  governments  to use the evidence produced by the industry stating that: “national actions need to be informed by the best and most current scientific information”10The letter was addressed to the former Head of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Free Initiative and since 2017 the Director of the Foundation for a Smoke Free World, a foundation solely funded by Philip Morris International.

Questioning the links between tobacco smoke and lung-cancer risk

In a confidential document from 1989 written by Proctor while representing BAT in a meeting about Asia, he praised the research findings of Linda Koo. Koo is a cancer epidemiologist and former lecturer at the University of Hong Kong. 11

Proctor mentioned Koo´s research findings, highlighting that “her work suggests that there is no clear association between either lung cancer or chronic bronchitis in non-smokers and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). (…) Koo postulates that diet is the most significant confounder in the epidemiological studies of ETS exposure (…)” 11 Proctor suggested funding her. 11

Proctor continued to question the links between second-hand smoke and lung cancer.  A report prepared by the WHO includes this quote from Proctor in the Guardian in 1998:  “What we and other scientists have long believed that while smoking in public may be annoying to some non-smokers, the science does not show that being around a smoker is a lung-cancer risk.”12

Casting doubt on nicotine addiction

In a WHO-prepared report on the tobacco industry it details an editorial in The Observer, written by Proctor in 1998, where he compares the addictiveness of nicotine with the effects of smoking and drinking tea or coffee. “Addiction is an emotive subject and it is certainly possible to define the term broadly enough to include smoking … The public’s understanding has changed significantly over recent decades … The current definition is more colloquial, reflected in terms like ‘chocoholic’ and ‘Addicted to love’. This colloquial definition is all inclusive and certainly applies to the use of many common substances that have familiar pharmacological effects to cigarettes, such as coffee, tea, chocolate and cola drinks.” 12

In 2019, in a BAT-sponsored article in Politico, Transforming tobacco: Our commitment to harm reduction,  Proctor said: “Today, it’s widely acknowledged that nicotine in and of itself is not the cause of the majority of smoking-related health risks.”13

South African ban on tobacco product sales during COVID 19: Proctor´s affidavit on behalf of BAT

The South African government introduced a ban on tobacco products sales during the COVID 19 pandemic14 The tobacco industry opposed this measure. British American Tobacco filed legal actions against the government.

In June 2020, Proctor submitted an affidavit on behalf of BAT, where it was mentioned that “tobacco and vaping products are in many respects similar to coffee in the ways they are experienced and used by consumers”15

BAT-funded publications authored by Christopher Proctor in 2019-2020

All these articles were co-authored by Proctor and colleagues from British American Tobacco.

  • Statistical analysis plan for “A randomised, controlled study to evaluate the effects of switching from cigarette smoking to using a tobacco heating product on health effect indicators in healthy subjects” March 202016
  • A cross-category puffing topography, mouth level exposure and consumption study among Italian users of tobacco and nicotine products. January 2020 17
  •  An inter-laboratory in vitro assessment of cigarettes and next generation nicotine delivery products August 2019.  18
  • Use of social media to establish vapers puffing behaviour: Findings and implications for laboratory evaluation of e-cigarette emissions. July 201919
  • Protocol for a Japanese nationwide repeated cross-sectional study to assess tobacco and nicotine product use behaviour after market introduction of tobacco heating products (THPs) May 2019.. 20

Sponsored articles in Politico about harm-reduction products

Tobacco Tactics resources

 

References

  1. abBAT, British American Tobacco unveils transformed science website, June 2019, accessed June 2020
  2. BAT, website, BAT study shows new vaping technology significantly reduces exposure to toxicants, March 2020, accessed June 2020
  3. Global Forum on Nicotine, GFN 2016 Snapshot on Christopher Proctor, 2016, accessed June 2020
  4. Covington & Burling, Covington Advises Perella Weinberg On $11.7 Billion Sale to Altria Group, 2008, accessed June 2020
  5. Segal, D. Washington Post, CIGARETTE LAWYERS FACE EXPENSIVE TURNABOUT, 1997, accessed June 2020
  6. Daynard, R. Northwestern University, Lawyer Management of Systems of Evil: The Case of the Tobacco Industry, 1999, accessed June 2020
  7. abUK Parliament, 2nd Oral Evidence Session of the Science & Technology Committee written transcription, February 2018, accessed June 2020
  8. European Risk Forum, About us, 2019, accessed June 2020
  9. European Policy Centre, Enhancing the role of science in the decision-making of the European Union, 2005, accessed June 2020
  10. Proctor, Letter to Derek Yach at WHO, Bates Number :325075812, 2000, accessed June 2020
  11. abcProctor, First Meeting of Asia ETS Consultants: Thailand, UCSF Industry Documents, Bates Number:401686705-401686710 1989, accessed June 2020
  12. abWHO, Tobacco Explained, undated, accessed June 2020
  13. Proctor, Transforming tobacco: Our commitment to harm reduction, June 2019, accessed June 2020
  14. New York Times, Taking on Covid-19, South Africa Goes After Cigarettes and Booze, Too, May 2020, accessed June 2020
  15. Shange, N., Tobacco giant takes government to court over ‘unconstitutional’ ban, 18 June 2020, accessed June 2020
  16. Camacho OM, Hedge A, Lowe F, et al. Statistical analysis plan for “A randomised, controlled study to evaluate the effects of switching from cigarette smoking to using a tobacco heating product on health effect indicators in healthy subjects”, Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2020;17:100535. Published 2020 Jan 28. doi:10.1016/j.conctc.2020.100535, accessed June 2020
  17. Jones, J., Slayford, S., Gray, A. et al.A cross-category puffing topography, mouth level exposure and consumption study among Italian users of tobacco and nicotine products.Sci Rep 10, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-55410-5, January 2020, accessed June 2020
  18. Ito S, Taylor M, Mori S, et al. An inter-laboratory in vitro assessment of cigarettes and next generation nicotine delivery products, Toxicol Lett. 2019;315:14-22. doi:10.1016/j.toxlet.2019.08.004, August 2019, accessed June 2020
  19. MacAdam et al, Use of social media to establish vapers puffing behaviour: Findings and implications for laboratory evaluation of e-cigarette emissions Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Volume 107, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.yrtph.2019.104423, October 2019, accessed June 2020
  20. Adamson J, Kanitscheider C, Prasad K, et al. Protocol for a Japanese nationwide repeated cross-sectional study to assess tobacco and nicotine product use behaviour after market introduction of tobacco heating products (THPs). Pre-print, doi:10.12688/f1000research.18920.1. PPR:PPR80070. May 2019, accessed June 2020
  21. Proctor, Why harm reduction and product safety standards go hand in hand– Politico, September 2019, accessed June 2020
  22. Proctor, Transforming tobacco: Our commitment to harm reduction, June 2019, accessed June 2020