Scientific Advisory Board

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This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.

Scientific Advisory Boards are generally known as SAB's in the tobacco documents. It is often very difficult to determine when these were genuine boards of independent scientists who met to co-operatively to answer some question, and when they were just the names of lobbyists, ideologues, and/or science-for-sale consultants who served no other purpose that that of decorating the letterhead of the organization.

There were also some SABs which had genuinely independent, but often gullible, scientists, who didn't recognize how easily they were being manipulated by the lawyers and administrators. And of course, some SABs had corrupt and genuine scientists deliberately blended in to make them more convincing to the public.

This blending of good and bad was the most common type of SAB in tobacco-funded organizations, and the blending technique was use also in establishing some of the more influential international conferences (eg. the Perry ETS Conference) and also as a way of keeping control over tobacco-funded, peer-reviewed scientific publications.

As examples, the following all had Scientific Advisory Board's:

  • ACSH (American Council on Science and Health)
This organization list hundreds of names on its SABs, but it is noticeable that the few who play a direct role with the program of the organization are all science-for-sale entrepreneurs, or professional scientific consultants to the chemical industry.
This group included Bruce Ames, Bernadine Healy (former director of National Institutes of Health), Congressman Mickey Edwards, George Carlo, Michael Gough, and others.
This was run by Sheldon Sommers with Paul Kotin, and it had many corrupt, some dubious, and some apparently genuine scientific advisory board members.
Members of the World Health Organization were actually on the organizing SAB and speaker's list, but they realized at the last moment that this was a tobacco industry set up, and withdrew.

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