John Luik

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

John Luik is a Canadian philosopher with a history of vocally opposing government agency efforts to warn people about the health dangers of secondhand tobacco smoke. Luik was involved in a tobacco industry-coordinated attack on United States Environmental Protection Agency’s 1992 Risk Assessment on secondhand tobacco smoke.[1]

In 1993, the Confederation of European Community Cigarette Manufacturers (CECCM) hired Luik to write a paper attacking the EPA’s influential 1992 risk assessment, The Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking - Lung Cancer and Other Disorders. [2] (CECCM is a coordinating body for European tobacco manufacturers similar to the Tobacco Institute, and like the Institute, helped European cigarette manufacturers fight public health efforts to reduce smoking. tobacco.) [3][4].

Luik gave several tobacco companies editorial capacity over the content of the paper. [5] Luik’s paper, titled Pandora ’s Box: The Dangers of Politically Corrupted Science for Democratic Public Policy [6] was published in Bostonia, the alumni quarterly of Boston University. In his paper, Luik accused the EPA of using "corrupted science" to reach its conclusions about secondhand smoke. He labeled EPA’s actions as "health paternalism" and claimed they posed a significant threat to legitimate democratic public policymaking. The description of the paper's author said only "Dr. John C. Luik, a nonsmoker, is a Senior Associate of the Niagara Institute." [7] (The Niagara Institute is a conservative Canadian think tank funded by British American Tobacco (BAT), that BAT uses as a conduit for producing papers and organizing symposia designed to influence decision makers and the public positively towards tobacco.)[8][9][10]

In 1999 the Fraser Institute, a conservative Canadian think tank, published a book titled Passive Smoke: The EPA’s Betrayal of Science and Policy authored by Luik and Gio Batta Gori that claimed the U.S. EPA used "junk science" to conclude that secondhand smoke causes disease in nonsmokers. The book did not mention either of the authors' longstanding ties to the tobacco industry. Copies of the book were mailed to policymakers across the country, particularly those in locations where smoking restrictions were under consideration. [11]

Health groups have advocated that using plain packaging for cigarettes would eliminate the alluring aspects of branded cigarette packs, reduce the attractiveness of smoking (particularly to children) and allow more focus on the health warnings on packages. [12] In 1995 BAT, Philip Morris, Gallaher tobacco company, Imperial Tobacco, Rothmans Tobacco and R.J. Reynolds initiated a joint project to find ways to combat the threat of legislation requiring plain packaging in Canada.[13] The companies commissioned the creation of a book addressing the issue. In 1994 Luik was invited to a meeting at Rothmans Tobacco to discuss a proposal he had submitted to serve as managing editor for the book about plain packaging for cigarettes. [14] In 1995 Luik was commissioned to produce and edit the book.

The book, entitled Plain Packaging and the Marketing of Cigarettes, was published in 1998 by Admap Publications in Oxfordshire, England. It concluded that public health assumptions about the beneficial effects of plain packaging were defective, that plain packaging would cause problems with smuggling and threaten the values of a democratic society. It wasn't until June 21, 2001 that a report emerged (in the Montreal Gazette) that Luik was paid US $155,000 to edit the book. [Montreal Gazette, June 21, 2001] The total cost of the book project to the participating tobacco companies was US $240,000.

Luik also served the industry as an associate of the tobacco industry-funded group, Associates for Research in the Science of Enjoyment (ARISE), that was publicly active between 1991 and 1999. ARISE members promoted the use of legal substances, including tobacco, to relieve stress and thus benefit health. In 1993 Luik delivered a paper called Pleasure and Democratic Principles [15] at an ARISE conference in Brussels in which he labeled public health authorities "neo-puritans" and "health paternalists" and claimed they were "fundamentally at odds with the core values of a democratic society, namely autonomy and respect." Speaking only as a representative of the Niagara Institute at a subsequent ARISE conference in Amsterdam in 1995, Luik labeled health promotion as "anti-science, anti-reason and anti-freedom," and said it was closer in nature to religion and politics than science." [16]

Misrepresenting credentials

Luik taught philosophy at Nazarene College in Winnipeg, Canada from 1977 to 1985, after which time he was fired for misrepresenting credentials on his resume. In 1985 he was accepted at Brock University where he taught applied professional ethics. In 1990 Brock discharged Luik citing "misrepresentation of his credentials" and saying he was unable to fulfill his duties there "since he has apparently engaged in a series of misrepresentations of his professional and/or academic qualifications to three separate employers, and had done so again, on several occasions, to Brock University." Luik has worked at several conservative Canadian think tanks including the Niagara Institute and the Fraser Institute.

External Resources

  • J C Luik (Editor), Plain packaging and the marketing of cigarettes, Oxforshire, United Kingdom: Admap Publications; 1998.
  • Marsden W. Luik lied to universities about his qualifications, Montreal Gazette June 21, 2001.
  • Brock University Department of Philosophy, The Recommendation of the Department of Philosophy that the Employment Contract of Prof. J.C. Luik with Brock University not be renewed; 1990 April.
  • Frasier Institute bio of John C. Luik
  • Page about Luik on the web site of the pro-smoking groupFORCES
  • Spinprofiles John Luik

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