McGill University ETS Symposium

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The McGill University ETS Symposium or McGill ETS (Environmental Tobacco Smoke) Symposium -- (also called a 'Conference' and often known just as McGill) was a very large (possibly 90 overall) faux-scientific conference held at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec November 3-4, 1989. exclusively with the industry's favorite scientists and supporters (by invitation only) as a way of training staff and consultants in the latest research finding, while working out the best techniques to counter the claims and attack the anti-smoking movement. This was at a time when emphasis was changing from primary lung-cancer among smokers, to the risks imposed on non-smokers by passive smoking.

The Symposium was created, funded and controlled by Philip Morris Corporate Affairs (under Andrew Whist, and utilizing John Rupp at Covington & Burling) It was initially intended to provide training for its European and Asian WhiteCoats. WhiteCoats were a special sort of research scientist who couldn't afford to risk revelations that they worked for the cigarette companies -- so they became 'sleeper' helpers for the industry. There were also a few dozen newly recruited US Academic ETS Scientific Consultants identified by the lawyers Covington & Burling with the help of Myron Weinberg, a specialist scientific consultant recruiter who worked both in the USA and in Europe.

It was a tightly-controlled, scientific conference was secretly organized by the Philip Morris for a number of reasons:

  • It provided them with a training ground for recently recruited scientific consultants involved in the company Whitecoat Project.
  • It was an opportunity for the industry consultants to meet and exchange views, and coordinate their responses for future inquiries.
  • It provided a credible forum for the release of tobacco industry-stimulated research designed to "neutralize" two reports on secondhand smoke about to be released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,
  • It had the potential to expose some scientific avenues for future research, which might be worth exploring.
  • It was a junket for many executives, and let them come in contact with the company consultants.

Closed and controlled conference

This was a closed conference made up entirely of friendly scientists selected by Philip Morris: every name on their attendance list was a known tobacco industry helper. This project was linked both to their Whitecoat Project recruitment program (especially the recent Asian Whitecoats), and also to the company's ongoing use of outside consultant scientists who needed to be kept up-to-date on the tobacco industry's problems. This was to be a meeting where the selective propaganda of their expert witnesses (to many court cases and government inquiries) would be coordinated.

The two day (Nov 3-4) McGill Conference was attended by over 40 tobacco company executive staff and lawyers and the 60+ invited scientists. It was totally funded by Philip Morris (approx $600,000), and controlled by the Corporate Affairs division under Andrew Whist. It must have cost many millions of dollars in all with the follow up, publishing, and travel costs, since it brought some participants from Europe and quite a few from Asia. It provided both training for new recruits, and it served as a discussion forum which had the aim of giving the industry a stiffened backbone to fight more vigorously against the anti-smoking movement. The new recruits would meet more famous scientists also working for tobacco, and who professed not to believe smoking was dangerous -- and that would give the new recruit enough pseudo-data to allow them to rationalise working for the industry (whether they believed the propaganda or not).

McGill Organization

A 1989 Philip Morris (PM) interoffice memo shows PM's Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Andrew Whist, plotting to organize a tightly controlled, tobacco industry-financed "scientific conference" about secondhand smoke. The purpose of the conference was to:

... neutralize two reports that are scheduled to be released [about environmental tobacco smoke (ETS)]: an ETS risk assessment that is being prepared by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a detailed assessment of ETS health effects under preparation at Rockefeller University ... The EPA and Spitzer reports would cause substantial damage unless they are somehow countered.[1]

The conference was hastily organized, and the arrangement with the university was made through a tobacco industry consultant, Professor Donald Ecobichon, who was on the medical faculty. He had previously worked through the lawyers Covington & Burling for the tobacco industry. [2]

Andrew Whist of Philip Morris International was at the head of Corporate Affairs, which planned the project, and he reported to Bill Murray in August of 1989:

What we have been planning over the past several days is a major international symposium which would be both closed and private until the release, shortly after the symposium, of a monograph summarizing the proceedings. Our goal, of course, is to produce an impressive document-that would have the potential of neutralizing two reports that are scheduled to be released near the end of this year. [ie. the EPA and Spitzer Reports][3]

[Note: the Spitzer Report was produced by Professor Carlton E Spitzer] (ex-HEW director of public information, and fierce smoking critic). Professor Walter O. Spitzer of the McGill medical faculty who helped set up the conference, had nothing to do with the Spitzer Report.]

Whist ended his memo with:

The long and the short of it is that I think we can succeed. I'd prefer not to be mired in bureaucracy -- just get on with it with my little team (security is vital) and do the job as best we can.[4]

The conference was closed because the company wanted to have full control over which scientists spoke, what they said (or, at least what was recorded that they'd said), the wording of the consensus conclusion, and the publication of the proceedings. However, Professor Ecobichon pointed out to Philip Morris that "if other members of the medical school faculty at McGill want to come, he can't very well keep them out." But they concluded that, "In fact, it probably won't hurt to have some representation there not invited by the tobacco industry." At later loaded conferences, Philip Morris always made sure that they had one or two scientists with impeccable credentials, and no links to the tobacco industry to provide them with a disclaimer.[5]

PM's plan at McGill was to stock the conference with scientists who were either industry consultants already or who advanced the company's views on ETS in their public statements (e.g., that "more research is needed"). Whist's memo also notes:

...[W]e plan to select a keynote presenter for each of the major ETS health effects issues. The keynote presentations would open by describing what is known and not known about ETS and various health effects -- for example, nonsmoker lung cancer. They would offer recommendations concerning research that should be undertaken to answer the as-yet unanswered questions. Such presentations should serve two related purposes: first, underscore the extent to which claims currently being made about ETS are unwarranted and, second, make a positive contribution to those who are prepared to approach the ETS issue objectively, by charting the course of future research.[6]

...If we are able ultimately to get 60 or 65 scientists to participate, the cost (not including publishing costs) should be in the neighborhood of $450,000 to $500,000 -- a projection that would be substantially below the cost of both the EPA and Spitzer projects...[W]e therefore would recommend that RJR, and perhaps the TI in the United States, be asked to bear a portion of the symposium's cost. Specifically, we would suggest that PM, RJR and the TI each be asked to shoulder one-third of the symposium's cost...

...we need to make sure that the publisher we select is prepared to guarantee an almost unprecedented quick turnaround on the symposium monograph. I intend to talk to Leon Hertz about this once I get the green light from you.

...We also need to think further about the best way of distributing the monograph, making sure that we reach the appropriate audiences in just the right way before the EPA and Spitzer reports are released. These are not mere details, but of fundamental importance to the entire enterprise.[7]

The Published Proceedings

The Institute for International Health & Development (IIHD) a fictitious organization set up for Philip Morris by consultant lobbyists David A. Morse, and Paul G Dietrich were to provide cover for the tobacco company -- both in dealings with the higher level administration of the university (although, it is by no means certain that they didn't know), and also for the publication and distribution of the conference proceedings. The IIHD was paid to edit, translate and release different language versions as a text-books for courses on the indoor environment.

After some judicial editing, the proceedings were widely distributed as an indoor-air quality (IAQ) textbook which exonerated second-hand tobacco smoke as the cause of adverse health effects within enclosed spaces, especially any significant office air-quality discomfort. Unfortunately for the tobacco industry, [[Paul G Dietrich}Paul Dietrich]] got into a fight with Sharon Boyse, the head science-confuser of British-American Tobacco (BAT) over his fees and copyright ownership, and this led to a general falling-out. Paul Dietrich disputed whether his IIHD or the tobacco industry had the rights to the book.

Paul Dietrich was paid a monthly consulting retainer by BAT as well as Philip Morris. He was also paid for services in running media workshops (mainly in Latin America). British American Tobacco (BAT) had known about the Montreal Conference, although it wasn't specifically invited to contribute until it made the first approach, and Sharon Boyse understood the relationship of the McGill Conference to the recruitment and training of Whitecoats in Europe and in Asia and the existance of pseudo-scientific societies like Associates for Research on Indoor Air ([[ARIA[[).

Within Europe the bulk of independent consultants have been recruited into ARIA (acting for Philip Morris, but without other industry support). As yet the organization has not achieved any great success in influencing scientific or public opinion on ETS, perhaps because it has little credibility and its objectives seem to relate to quantity rather than quality. Attempts are now being made to extend the organization on a worldwide basis and a very large meeting on indoor air/Environmental Tobacco Smoke is scheduled for November 1989 in Montreal.

Control of the Proceedings

A couple of years after the conference, Paul Dietrich attached the the following to the bill for his services for BAT:

"I am attaching with this memo, a copy of a bill for my monthly consulting fees from June 1, 1992, through September 30, 1992. During this period of time, please make out your check payable to Paul Dietrich, 500 K Street S.E., Washington, D.C. 20003. For the period of October 1, 1992 through December 31, 1992, you will be receiving a bill for my monthly consulting fees from Squire, Sanders and Dempsey"

He had previously been with Surrey & Morse, where both Paul Dietrich and David Morse had specialised in attacking the budget and credibility of the World Health Organisation (WHO). They maintained that the WHO should have priorities other than smoking and the indoor air environment. Morse had then died, and Dietrich had just joined this new law firm and he was using this company to provide cover for his lobbying activities.

But a few months later, the relationship between Dietrich and BAT dissolved. There was a series of letters between the U.S. law firm Covington & Burling, BAT, and Dietrich over a bill for US$30,000 towards the translation of the McGill conference book into other languages. A 1993 letter from Sharon Boyse of BAT to Matthew Winokur of Philip Morris states:

You may be aware from speaking to Cesar and Aurora that at our last joint media seminar in Venezuela, we found it necessary to obtain a replacement for Paul Dietrich's usual WHO presentation, and Bob Tollison agreed to step in at the last minute. In the course of giving the presentation, he produced more facts and figures on the WHO budget in writing than we have ever had out of Dietrich in some time of paying him an expensive consultancy fee!...
We have subsequently had severe problems with Dietrich in relationship to the Spanish translation of the McGill proceedings, which Aurora can also fill you in on if you are unaware. We, for one, will never use him again in this or any other respect. We therefore desperately need an alternative for media work and hopefully one that will publish something more substantial than Dietrich's usual stereotyped press articles.
Tollison has agreed to carry out more work on the WHO and to publish, at our instigation, a collaborative effort with Digby Anderson of the (IEA's) Social Affairs Unit (SAU), on the WHO and other similar organizations. We are funding this publication through the SAU. However, understandably, Tollison is concerned about using Dietrich's data for a publication, especially given that in Dietrich's present state of mind he could well take offense and cause a major international incident!

Dietrich has been adamant ever since that he never received any money from the industry and he has stated that there was 'no evidence of a check paid to him'. Tollison had also joined forces with a lobbyist James Savarese, and continued running the Cash-for-Comments Economists Network.

  • Note that attendance at the McGill University ETS Symposium is used by lawyers Covington & Burling as a key form of identification in their database of compliant scientists and repudiators. [2]

Some of the participants at the McGill conference included Torbjorn Malmfors (Sweden), Maxwell Layard (U.S.), James Kilpatrick (U.S.), Peter N. Lee (U.K.), Joseph Fleiss (U.S.), Maurice Emile LeVois (U.S.), and Gary Flamm (U.S.), -- all were tobacco industry consultants.[8]

Documents & Timelines

ETS = Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ie the passive smoking problem)

1988 Apr /E This is a Philip Morris International list of compliant academic scientists who can be used for various projects (they might be useful for Congressional hearings and the like). It lists the scientists by country, and their current tasks:

Donald Ecobichon, PhD. Toxicologist -- McGill University, Ontario [His potential services ...]

  • Attend Perry Conference - June
  • Write article re : conference findings for submission to scientific journal - July
[Ecobichon did attend the Perrry/Imperial College Conference, and as was the case for about one-third to one-half of the participants, his expenses were paid by the tobacco industry [probably on top of a substantial honorarium]
[Note also the sheer number of compliant scientist who had been detailed to attend the Perry Conference, and write articles or reports for specific publications afterwards. Most of them are also on the speakers or participants list at the McGill ETS Conference.] [3]

1989/E Undated ETS Strategy document for PM Europe. Current status of consultant program in EEC.

France: overall coordinating, scientist, is Prof. Andre Favre, a toxicologist, who is making a list of potential candidates. His "lieutenants" are Dr. Abenheim, of McGill University, and Prof. Faccini (now at Surrey University


1989 Aug 8 List of discussants -- speakers are still to be selected [5]

1988 Aug 10 An executive at Philip Morris International [probably Andrew Whist or Bill Murray (or both)] wrote An Action Plan for ETS in Europe. which shows that the company recognised that since ...

... "many people spend most of their smoking hours" in a workplace environment, widespread workplace smoking restrictions would severely affect the profits of the industry.

A second area of concern for them was threats to in-flight smoking aboard commercial aircraft. This was also because ... '

"In-flight restrictions receive broad publicity and encourage the adoption of other prohibitions elsewhere."

Their Plan, included a series of contemplated actions to fight back the growing anti-smoking movement. Among these was the blueprint for the McGill Conference held in November 1989, and also the concurrent project of recruiting WhiteCoats in Europe and later Asia:

[W]e must continue to identify and encourage scientific consultants within each of the priority markets. By the end of 1989, operating consulting groups should exist within each of the category 1 areas or markets identified above, and within the most important areas or markets in category 2.

Each such group should meet at reasonable intervals, sometimes individually and sometimes in multinational internal conferences, for coordination, motivation and cross-fertilization. [This is the philosophy behind the McGill conference.]

Each such scientist should be appropriately encouraged to prepare papers, participate in scientific societies with relevant areas of interest, and take active roles in scientific conferences. Where possible without compromising a scientist's effectiveness, they should be encouraged to provide statements or testimony for use before government commissions and information to the media.

The industry should encourage and/or indirectly support scientific conferences, such as the recent "Perry conference" [Imperial College conference, June 1988] in London.

Such conferences are best conducted with third-party sponsorship, where possible, and PM public affairs and NMAs, assisted by Science & Technology should make continuous efforts to identify and encourage such sponsors.
[Explanation: they should coordinate these activities with the various National Manufacturers Associations and use the Science & Technology division of PM based at FTR, Lausanne, Switzerland to identify non-tobacco groups who could be paid to front conferences.]

In addition, we should encourage the publication of suitable papers as widely as possible in appropriate scientific journals and proceedings. Covington & Burling (C+B), Science & Technology [S&T], and other industry scientific institutions should actively assist those efforts. The goal should be for each consultant to publish at least one such paper annually in such journals and proceedings.

With respect to the ETS consultants, however, this does not mean that they should become, or even remotely appear to be, industry scientists, and coordination should therefore occur through C+B. [6] [7]

[Note: the need to use the lawyers to keep scientists at arms length and the money trail from being traced back to the tobacco industry]

1989 Aug 30 Tom Osdene at PM USA Science & Technology has received a complete list of tobacco industry consultants from the Tobacco Institute. He appears to be checking their documentation under the headings "BUS" (Business?); "BIB" (Bibliography) and "BIO" (Biography)

He is also correcting spelling and initials, and preparing a WHTCOATS.TXT (WhiteCoats text) for September 5 1989 [and another computer file labled COATS.TXT the day before. These are clearly checklists of personal documents received for scientist invited to the McGill Conference in Canada.
[Note that the Asian WhiteCoats were first making an appearance at the McGill ETS Conference (Nov 1989)]

The lists are headed Academics, Full-time Consultants on ETS or Full-time Consultants on IAQ (indoor air testing). It is pretty safe to assume that this is part of the McGill University ETS Conference documentation -- a list of scientists who are safe to be invited since everyone listed is a long-term tobacco scientist or a science-for-sale entrepreneur. [8]

[The numbers appear to correspond closely with the actual speakers at the McGill Conference, so these may represent the length of their proposed speech -- or the number of an abstract]

1989 Sep 15 The ETS Coordinating Committee [of the Tobacco Institute] is reviewing a number of matters including possible speakers list at the McGill ETS Conference and the new ETS Strategies by the Tobacco Institute. The conference is set for November 3 and 4. The planning has been done by John Rupp [lawyer at C&B] at the behest of Philip Morris International [Note that the PM-USA (domestic) representatives on the committee meeting had never heard of it.]

The writer of the report notes that:

Rupp had discussed this conference in the past with me, Jim Goold, and Jeff Furr [two other industry lawyers] . It is now seen as having uses beyond the Canadian context, and it's going to be expensive ($500,000 -- $600,000) so Rupp will probably come to RJR, PM-USA, TI, or all of the above for financial aid.
Don Ecobichon, who has worked for Rupp and the Canadian industry before, has received permission to have the conference sponsored by the medical school at McGill. Ecobichon is on the faculty there.

The conference will be closed; attendance is by invitation only. There will be no pre-conference publicity, no publicity during the conference, and no post-conference press conference. They look for 50-70 attendees and have already received commitments from about 20 US scientists, 4-5 Asians, and 4-5 Europeans. Nearly all of the "[Academic] first team" [Wu, Wexler, Hood, Gross, Hsi, Fleiss, Switzer] will attend, and in part it will serve as a continued training session for them.

It is now seen as having uses beyond the Canadian context, and it's going to be expensive ($500,000-$600,000) so Rupp will probably come to RJR, PM-USA, TI, or all of the above for financial aid. Don Ecobichon, who has worked for Rupp and the Canadian industry before, has received permission to have the conference sponsored by the medical school at McGill. Ecobichon is on the faculty there. The conference will be closed; attendance is by invitation only. There will be no pre-conference publicity, no publicity during the conference, and no post-conference press conference.

They look for 50-70 attendees and have already received commitments from about 20 US scientists, 4-5 Asians, and 4-5 Europeans. Nearly all of the "first team" [Wu, Wexler, Hood, Gross and Hsing] will attend, and, in part, it will serve as a continued training session for them .

The plan is to have a keynote presentation at each session, followed by a panel discussion of ten or so discussants. Each discussant will comment on what has been intriguing to him or her in the keynote. The point is to come up with what we know in each area, what we don't know, and how we can go about finding out what we don't know. Rupp is also considering opening up these sessions for comments from the floor. These discussions are to be recorded, transcribed, and edited for inclusion in the proceedings. A monograph will be published (big, fat book) containing the presented papers and the edited discussions. The publication goal is December 1 (1989) . The publication can then be used in a variety of ways, but there has been no extensive planning on the uses which can be made of the monograph. Among other things, the risk assessment portion may be useful with EPA and the various things going on in California.

The Institute for International Health and Development [actually run for PM by Paul Dietrich and David Morse] based in Geneva [actually via the Catholic University in Washington] has expressed interest in publishing the monograph as part of a series of ten monographs planned by that group. The Institute has already published one on AIDS; this would be the second. [Note:This was, of course, a Philip Morris front organisation with its offices in Washington DC and only a letter-drop address in Geneva]

We will have to deal with the criticism that this conference was by invitation only . Rupp's view is that the American Lung Association, Surgeon General, etc. are going to scream when the book comes out, but we'll still have the book. We scream when they come out with stuff, but they still have their books. Ecobichon has pointed out that if other members of the medical school faculty at McGill want to come, he can't very well keep them out. In fact, it probably won't hurt to have some representation there not invited by the tobacco industry. [9]

1989 Sep 22 John Lyons at the Tobacco Institute reports to Charles Powers on the Academic ETS Scientific Consultant

Since the Executive Committee met, ETS literature packages have been sent to six prospective consultants:

  • Dr. Brigham of Vanderbilt;
  • Dr. Grant of Texas Tech;
  • Dr. Hsi of the University of Texas;
  • Dr. Dunn of Wayne State;
  • Dr. Duffy of Children's Hospital in Buffalo (Dr. Duffy is the first woman to be recruited.);
  • Dr. Iqbal of the University of Illinois.
Based on preliminary discussions with these scientists, Covington is quite optimistic that most, if not all, will agree to consult for us.

At last week's ETS coordinating committee meeting, John Rupp agreed to prepare a list of assignments and recommend to us which consultant should handle each assignment. All of the "academic" consultants are scheduled to participate in the McGill University conference on ETS November 3-4. Covington may ask three of them to prepare "keynote" papers for the sessions on reproductive effects (Dr. Hood), cardiovascular disease (Dr. Wexler), and possible causes of lung cancer in nonsmokers (Dr. Wu). These assignments — or decisions not to assign — should be made within the week.

The McGill conference is the focus of most of the academic ETS activity at this moment. After the conference, the consultants should be able to focus more directly on assignments for The Institute. [10]

1989 Sep 27 Asian ETS Project - Status Report by John Rupp and David Billings.

[Note: This report is the first appearance of the new WhiteCoats organisation the Asian Pacific Association for Indoor Air Quality (APAIAQ) The highlights of their report include:

On November 3 and 4, 1989, approximately 60 of our consultant scientists from the United States, Canada, Asia and Western Europe will convene for a private symposium devoted to ETS and risk assessment. The purpose of the symposium is to produce an authoritative monograph that will serve to neutralize two reports that are scheduled to be released near the end of this year:

  • an ETS risk assessment that is being prepared by the US Environmental Protection Agency
  • detailed assessment of ETS health effects that is being prepared in Canada under Professor Spitzer's supervision.

The ETS symposium is being sponsored by the Institute for International Health and Development as part of continuing series of public health symposia, the first of which was devoted to AIDS.

[Note:In fact the IIHD had been put together by Andrew Whist at Philip Morris, with the help of David Morse (ex ILO and tobacco lobbyist) -- and this was its first outing for the tobacco industry.]

The McGill symposium will utilize a presentation/panel discussion format. The keynote speaker for each of the major topics will first describe what is known and not known about ETS and various health effects. The speaker then will offer recommendations for research that should be undertaken to address the important gaps in the scientific literature. : [Note:The Asian participants would not have known that ALL scientists at this conference were paid lackey/lobbyists of the tobacco industry. In their ignorance, they may have believed some were genuine.]
The panel of discussants will follow with appropriate commentary and amplification of the presentation. We have not asked any of our Asian consultants to act as presenters but instead have requested that some of them participate in selected panel discussions. Benito Reverente, Sarah Liao, Yoon Shin Kim and Lina Somera have agreed to do so.

The symposium presents an ideal opportunity to expose the Asian consultants to the full range of issues and the most advanced current thinking on ETS and should bolster their confidence substantially. As the panel discussions will be transcribed and published alongside the keynote presentations, McGill will mark their first appearance in the scientific literature on ETS. [11]

1989 Sep 28 Agenda with the finalised list of speakers and discussants [12]

1989 Aug John Lyons of the Tobacco Institute was in charge of the Tobacco Institute's involvement in Academic ETS Scientific Consultants (aka WhiteCoats). The process of selecting such consultants is explained in this (and other) letters:

  1. packets of literature on ETS were sent to prospecive consultants.They were to comment. They were then examined the comments to see whether there was any 'anti-smoking bias'.
  2. If not, then they move to a second vetting. The lawyers from Covington & Burling then had a discussion with them and explain the payment system and the control.
  3. Those still indicating that they would consult with the tobacco industry were then passed through a training program (different at different times) and they then await assignments. (provided projects to act as witness, write letters-to-editor, articles, etc)
  4. All contact and payments are handled through the lawyers so they can deny ever having received a penny from the tobacco industry.

The industry is using the forthcoming McGill University ETS Symposium as a trial for some of their new recruits:

  • Dr.Ronald D Hood (Uni of Alabama)was given the assignment of preparing a paper on the reproductive effects of passive smoking.
  • Dr Lawrence M Wexler (New York Medical College) was to speak on ETS and cardiovascular disease.
  • Dr Joseph M Wu (New York Medical College) was to speak on possible causes of lung cancer in NON-smokers.
It is not difficult to see that most of these speeches were designed to throw doubt on the science]
Lyon writes: The McGill conference is the focus of most of the academic ETS activity at this moment. After the conference, the consultants should be able to focus more directly on assignments for the Institute. [13]

1989 Sep 28 The finalised agenda of the McGill ETS Conference -- which is dated the same day as the formal letters of invitation for both speakers and participants.

[DRAFT] Dear . We are pleased to confirm your invitation to participate in a symposium on the key scientific issues relating to environmental tobacco smoke. The symposium will take place on Friday and Saturday, November 3 and 4, 1989, in the Stephen Leacock Building (Room 232) on the campus of McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

The symposium is being held under the joint sponsorship of McGill University and the Institute of International Health and Development of Geneva, Switzerland. The proceedings will be published in book form as the second in a series on world health questions issued by the institute.

Signed: Joseph M Wu and Donald J Ecobichon.
[Note:The first in the series to be published was supposedly an IIHD report on AIDS (actually an attack on WHO placing a priority on smoking and ETS when there were other diseases that needed funding). This earned Paul Dietrich an invitation to become a member of the Harvard University's AIDS advisory board.]

See the final Speaker's Agenda [14]

Purpose: The effects of environmental tobacco smoke continue to be a controversial subject within and without the scientific community. Although studies of ETS are increasing in both number and sophistication, many unanswered questions remain about the composition of ETS, average exposure levels, effects on humans and relative risk.

(A formal typed brochure [15])

1989 Oct 3 John Rupp, the tobacco lawyer of Covington & Burling, is advising the head of the Canadian Tobacco Manufactuers' Council (Jaques LaRiviere) about the coming closed McGill University ETS seminar. He encloses an agenda, with the names of all the confirmed and alternate speakers. It shows that every speaker was a paid tobacco tout. The are all on the PM , TI and C&B scientific witness lists, or they were a secretly recruited 'Whitecoat'. [16]

Jacques LaRiviere was upset about Philip Morris running a major project in his territory without informing him earlier, and suggested to BAT that they should not make any financial contribution.

1989 Oct 4 'Chuck' Lister another tobacco lawyer from C&B in the UK is critical of the "Dunkley video treatments" [two videos - one which had been made on ETS and another on IAQ]. He suggests that they use the McGill ETS conference as a source of material for two new video recording projects - one on ETS (passive smoking) and the other on IAQ (air circulation in buildings).

[ETS] As to other scientists, is there merit in filming at Montreal on 3-4 November, where 40 or 50 of our people will be opining on this very subject? It is far, but it is also a unique chance to get everyone in one place at one time.

IAQ: I also like this one. Robertson is certainly key, and Holcomb could be good. Sterling is quite possible, although busy and located in Canada. He will probably not be in Montreal for the meeting noted above.

Another possibility is an American with labour connections (Jim Savarese) whom we used last year in Stockholm. Frank Lunau (ARIA and IAI) is local, but might come across badly. I suppose, if Paul Maglione wishes, we could also use someone from HIROSS [A/C equipment manufacturers]. There are other UK possibilities for the purely IAQ, non-ETS segments. [17]

1989 Oct 13The Tobacco Institute has received a Confirmed Participants list for Montreal with 66 names. Another 21 were still not confirmed. (also the scientists of Philip Morris, Tobacco Institute, RJ Reynolds, etc) This copy was sent to the Canadian tobacco institute (CTMC) which was annoyed because they hadn't been consulted and were being asked for a $50,000 contribution. They had only heard the day before of a "rumor" that a scientific conference was being held in Canada. [18]

1989 Oct 16 A number of other similar projects are already in the planning stages. Frank Farnel [European 'Issues Manager'] reports back to PM International about progress in the 'Boca Raton Action Plan (being run by Corporate Affairs for Geoffrey Bible) [He uses the standard headings of the Plan].

  • On November 3-4 in Montreal under the sponsorship of McGill University a conference is being organized entitled International Symposium on Environmental Tobacco Smoke. About 60 scientists are expected from around the world including 25 from Europe. Participants from EEMA include Drs. Malmfos & [[{Lars Werko|Werko]] (Sweden), Voss (Denmark), [Karl Baettig|Baettig]] & Atteslander (Switzerland), and Salaoos (Finland).
  • In April of 1990 in Lisbon a seminar is being organized by C&B on the subject of Indoor Air in Warm Climates under the sponsorship of the New University of Lisbon, the British Occupational Hygiene Society (BOHS) and the Asian Occupational Health Society. We are working with C&B to identify those who will be invited to this seminar.
  • In June of 1990 in the UK a seminar is planned on the topic of Setting Standards for Indoor Air Quality under the sponsorship of BOHS and CIBCI (architects and building engineers societies). This is designed to be a European conference and one presentation will focus on the results of the Swiss ACVA and LINK studies.
[ACVA was an fake air=testing company run by Gray Robertson LINK (unknown)]

1989 Nov 3-4 The conference took place at McGill University.

1990 Jan 24 Just after the McGill University ETS Symposium Donald Harris (Whist's associate at PM Corporate Affairs) sent out this memo saying that the McGill ETS Symposium was "the most careful and thorough review of the science on ETS ever conducted," that it "was done by 82 leading medical and indoor air scientists and researchers from around the world" who "concluded that "the published data, when critically examined and evaluated, are inconsistent with the notion that ETS is a health hazard." Says Philip Morris must use the material "to block attempts by governments to establish public policies against smoking based upon ETS." [20]

1990 Aug 3 Sam Chilcote the General Manager of the Tobacco Institute has advised the Members of the Executive Committee about plans to develop a celebrity speakers program using academics and other expert consultants. They offer the speakers both money and personal image promotion:

[W]hile it is clear that there are a number of individuals who can and are speaking out on our issues independent of The Institute, there also is much more that could be done. There are, for example, opportunities to develop higher profiles for those individuals with whom we enjoy an existing relationship, and to increase within the media an awareness of their availability.

There also are a number of individuals who have been identified who do not currently have a relationship with the industry, but whose views appear to be compatible with our own. Should the Executive Committee decide that it wants to proceed with an expansion of our speakers' program, these individuals would be contacted to determine their interest in our issues.

The addition of new speakers to our program will be expensive. Most of these individuals command substantial consulting fees; media and other activity will require a new commitment of funds, although an exact amount cannot be determined until candidates have been approached.

He then lists potential speakers:

  • Authors, newscasters and newspaper columnists
  • Well-known politicians, political aides, White House staffers, State authorities, agency administrators, etc
  • Heads of various coalition groups (American Advertising Federation. etc, Libertarian think-tanks)
  • Compliant legal and business academics from Savarese's network list.
  • Academics promoting their expertise in 'risk assessment'.
  • Corporate experts in indoor air pollution and ventilation systems.
  • Cash-for-comment academic economists
  • Many other collaborators and some likely allies:
  • Medical & biomedical researchers:
  • Current Projects list of those already with grants
  • Those paid to make comments on EPA ETS risk assessment (emphasis on confounders)

[Note: Almost all of the scientists on this list participated at McGill] [21]


  1. Whist A, Philip Morris ETS Symposium Memorandum. August 8, 1989. 3 pp. Bates No. 2500017043/7045
  2. Whist A, Philip Morris ETS Symposium Memorandum. August 8, 1989. 3 pp. Bates No. 2500017043/7045
  3. Whist A, Philip Morris ETS Symposium Memorandum. August 8, 1989. 3 pp. Bates No. 2500017043/7045
  4. Whist A, Philip Morris ETS Symposium Memorandum. August 8, 1989. 3 pp. Bates No. 2500017043/7045
  5. Ward ME, R.J. Reynolds Coordinating Committee Report. Bates No. 515541696/1701
  6. Status: Montreal ETS Conference Program Agenda. September 28, 1989. Bates No. 2500048487/8490
  7. Andrew Whist, "ETS Symposium", Philip Morris, Bates No. 2023034633, August 8, 1989.
  8. Status: Montreal ETS Conference Program Agenda. September 28, 1989. Bates No. 2500048487/8490

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