Researchers have discovered how a tobacco company manipulated the public by skewing their protocols for testing the toxic effects of additives in cigarettes that are used to enhance flavor.
According to a new analysis from University of California San Francisco (UCSF), tobacco industry documents shows that Philip Morris USA manipulated their own findings on the toxic effects of cigarette additives, including menthol.
The findings, published in the journal PloS Medicine, show tobacco scientists altered the data from Philip Morris’ Project MIX that detailed chemical analyses of 333 cigarette additives.
The study authors reassessed the original data, which was published in 2002.
What they found is that tobacco scientists altered their study protocols to hide the increased toxic of cigarette additives and menthol.
Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, UCSF professor of medicine and director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at UCSF said, “When we conducted our own analysis by studying additives per cigarette – following Philip Morris’ original protocol -- we found that 15 carcinogenic chemicals increased by 20 percent or more.”
The researchers say their finding means the additives need to be removed from cigarettes, including menthol, to protect public health.
The independent study also found the reason Philip Morris didn’t find the toxic effect of additives in cigarette tobacco is because their animal studies were too small.
“The experiment was too small in terms of the number of rats analyzed to statistically detect important changes in biological effects,” Glantz said. “Philip Morris underpowered its own studies.”
The UCSF authors say many editorial board members of the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, where the original toxicology findings were published, had financial ties to the tobacco industry.
E-mails that are now public because of tobacco litigation show some of the manipulation taking place during the time the scientists were trying to get their study published. The UCSF researchers concluded, “…the FDA and similar agencies elsewhere, could use the Project MIX data to eliminate the use of these 333 additives (including menthol) from cigarettes.”