Pinney Associates

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PinneyAssociates is a health consultancy based in the United States (US), which has actively promoted tobacco harm reduction.


PinneyAssociates was founded in 1994 by John Pinney, who previously worked at the US Office of the Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare and co-founded the Harvard University’s Institute for the Study of Smoking Behaviour and Policy.1 Pinney served as the executive editor on four Surgeon General’s Reports on the health consequences of smoking.
Some of PinneyAssociates’ key people that have worked on tobacco issues are:2

  • John Pinney – Founder and CEO
  • Joe Gitchell – President
  • Jack Henningfield – Vice President Research, Health Policy and Abuse Liability
  • Saul Shiffman – Senior Scientific Advisor, Behavioral Science, Study Design and Analysis
  • Robyn Gougelet – Senior Associate

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

Image 1: Screengrab from, taken November 2017, disclosing that its harm reduction work is funded by a tobacco company

Speaker at Tobacco Industry Event

Since 2014, PinneyAssociates staff have been regular invited speakers at the Global Tobacco and Nicotine Forum, an annual tobacco industry event previously known as the Global Tobacco Networking Forum.34 See also:

Financial Interest in Tobacco Company’s Nicotine Gum

PinneyAssociates’s Jack Henningfield, a leading expert on tobacco control and addiction, has disclosed that he shares a patent for a nicotine gum that is under license to Niconovum, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reynolds American (RAI) tobacco company.5

Harm Reduction Work Exclusively Funded by Tobacco Company

From February 2015, PinneyAssociates’ work on tobacco harm reduction has been exclusively funded by RAI (see image 1).67 RAI has been wholly owned by British American Tobacco since July 2017. At the time of the agreement with RAI, John Pinney said:

“Our overriding objective is to minimize the death and disease caused by conventional cigarette smoking as quickly as possible and we believe we have a powerful opportunity to advance this objective with these new relationships”

Promoted Dialogue Between Public Health and Tobacco Industry

“Our RAI Colleagues”

In January 2018, Joe Gitchell emailed public health experts to invite them to attend a RAI briefing, scheduled for February 2018 to coincide with the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) conference.8 The purpose of the briefing was to discuss RAI’s application to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to label Camel snus as ‘reduced risk’.

Gitchell’s email implied collaboration between the tobacco industry and the public health community, referring to RAI staff as “our RAI colleagues” who were to “provide an overview of the application and will present the behavioral sic data that may be of interest to you”.
The “by-invitation only” event was to be moderated by PinneyAssociates’ Saul Shiffman, and would be followed by “cocktails and appetizers following the briefing, and a sit-down dinner, sponsored by Reynolds American Inc”.

Influencing Science

Member of Industry-Dominated CORESTA

PinneyAssociates is a member of CORESTA,9 a research platform set up by tobacco scientists in 1955, and whose research activities have been said to advance the interests of the tobacco industry.10 CORESTA is run by a Board of 14 companies; 7 major tobacco manufactures, 6 tobacco-related suppliers, and 1 American university.11
In 2016 and 2017, PinneyAssociates’ work (often in collaboration with RAI) was presented at least 10 times at 3 different CORESTA meetings:12

Criticised Surgeon General’s Report on E-Cigarettes

In a letter published in the journal Nicotine & Tobacco Research in July 2018, PinneyAssociates’ Annie Kleykamp criticised the methodology and challenged the objectivity of the Surgeon General’s report’s on e-cigarettes.21 The report “E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults”, published in December 2016, found that the use of e-cigarettes among American youth is unsafe and has become a major public health concern requiring regulatory action, including incorporating e-cigarettes into smoke-free policies and regulating e-cigarette marketing to youth.22 Kleykamp accused the Surgeon General’s report of confirmation bias and excluding recently published studies whose findings were not in line with the Surgeon General’s findings.
In the letter, Kleykamp declared that PinneyAssociates “works on smoking cessation and tobacco harm minimization…for Niconovum USA, Reynolds American Innovation Inc, and RAI Services Company, all subsidiaries of Reynolds American Inc. However, we do not consult on conventional, combustible cigarettes.” She added that that commercial interests “had no input in to any facet of this work, from its conception, analysis, writing, nor submission.”

TobaccoTactics Resources

Relevant Link

Pinney Associates website


  1. PinneyAssociates, Our people: John Pinney, Founder and Chief Executive, undated, accessed November 2017
  2. PinneyAssociates, Our People: Senior Leadership, 2018, accessed January 2018
  3. Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum, Look who’s talking, 2016, accessed November 2017
  4. Global Tobacco & Nicotine Forum, Look who’s talking, 2017, accessed October 2017
  5. J. Henningfield, Global Nicotine Reduction Strategy. Personal Insights on the View From FDA and the WHO TobReg Study Group, Presented at CORESTA Congress, Berlin, 11 October 2016, accessed November 2017
  6. PinneyAssociates, Tobacco harm reduction, 2017, accessed July 2018
  7. PR Newswire, PinneyAssociates and Subsidiary Enter into Product Development and Consulting Agreements with Subsidiaries of Reynolds American Inc., 19 February 2015, accessed November 2017
  8. J. Gitchell, “Invitation to Camel Snus MRTPA briefing in Baltimore”. Email to undisclosed public health experts, dated 19 January 2018, 18:33
  9. CORESTA, 2017 CORESTA Joint Study Groups Meeting, Kitzbühel Austria, 8-12 October, Smoke Science and Product Technology, CORESTA website, accessed July 2018
  10. S.A. Bialous, D. Yach, Whose standard is it anyway? How the tobacco industry determines the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standards for tobacco and tobacco products, Tobacco Control, 2001;10:96-104
  11. CORESTA, A presentation of CORESTA, updated May 2018, accessed July 2018
  12. CORESTA, Abstracts. Search: Pinney, accessed July 2018
  13. G. Curtin, A. Bachand, S. Sulsky, et al, Addressing U.S. FDA’s population health standard for Camel Snus with modified risk messaging, CORESTA meeting, Smoke Science/Product Technology, 2017. Kitzbühel, ST 39
  14. S. Shiffman, M. Sembower, M. Kim, et al, Flavored e-cigarette use among U.S. adults: results from two national surveys, CORESTA meeting, Smoke Science/Product Technology, 2017. Kitzbühel, ST 50
  15. S. Shiffman, M. Sembower, M. Kim, et al, Variations in intensity of e-cigarette use, smoking history, and demographics among past-30-day e-cigarette users, CORESTA meeting, Smoke Science/Product Technology, 2017. Kitzbühel, ST 51
  16. K. Frost-Pineda, J. Pillitteri, S. Shiffment, et al, Comprehension and perceptions of reduced risk information for camel snus, TSRC, Tob. Sc. Res. Conf., 2017, 71, abst. 108
  17. G.M. Curtin, K. Gerlach, S. Shiffman, Reduced risk information for camel snus: projecting likelihoods of use among current smokers, former smokers and never tobacco users, TSRC, Tob. Sci. Res. Conf., 2017, 71, abstr. 109
  18. A. Bachand, S.I. Sulsky, S. Shiffman, et al, Modeling the population health effects of Camel snus with reduced risk information, TSRC, Tob. Sci. Res. Conf., 2017, 71, abstr.110
  19. J.E. Henningfield, What is the rationale behind TobReg’s “Global nicotine reduction strategy”?, CORESTA Congress, Berlin, 2016, Plenary Session, APSTW 01
  20. S. Shiffman, K.K. Gerlach, Design and implementation of pre- and post-marketing surveillance for tobacco products, Tobacco Science Research Conference, 2016, 70, abstract.03 Symposium
  21. B.A. Kleykamp, Objectivity and Evidence in the 2016 Surgeon General’s Report on E-Cigarettes, Nicotine & Tobacco Research, Volume 20, Issue 8, 9 July 2018, Pages 1031-1032
  22. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, E-Cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults. A Report of the Surgeon General, 2016, accessed July 2018