This article is part of the Tobacco portal on Sourcewatch funded from 2006 - 2009 by the American Legacy Foundation.
"Balanced scientists" is a term widely used within the tobacco industry to describe scientists who are willing to promote views favorable to tobacco manufacturers' financial interests, even in the face of differing scientific consensus. Most of them are corrupt to some extent, although some are incompetent and are used unwittingly.
Balanced scientists are hired through third parties (including lawyers, to protect disclosure of association in future lawsuits).
The cigarette-lung cancer link was established by scientific world in the early 1950s, which U.S. tobacco companies confirmed on their own by the early sixties. Facing possible bankruptcy, various scams were perpetrated, including the infamous Council for Tobacco Research, which spent more money on advertising of fake research then on performing actual research.
By the seventies, the declining social acceptability of smoking forced the use of corrupt scientists for various specific tasks not limited to the medical field. Building ventilation as an alternative to smoking bans is advanced to this very day by "air quality experts."
"Independent" scientific opinions are then recycled by tobacco companies' PR machine to publicly promote the view, in order to influence the public or lawmakers. Journalists are also often complicit in spreading the prepared news.
Most notorious Philip Morris scams using balanced scientists, which were disclosed during American tobacco lawsuits include:
- Scottish bird owners get lung cancer from pets, not smoking.
- Sex prevents lung cancer (England).
- Stale air from human gases contributes to indoor pollution instead of tobacco smoke (Switzerland).
- Home cooking by elderly housewives in Krakow, Poland, is more dangerous than second hand tobacco smoke.
- Smoking improves memory (research at Karolinska Institute, published)
The automobile and fossil fuel industries also use "balanced scientists" to attack evidence linking carbon dioxide emissions to global warming.
- http://tobaccodocuments.org/bliley_pm/24415.html - Most notorious Philip Morris document - a bill from its law firm Shook Hardy and Bacon of Kansas City. Lawyers describe by name "developed witnesses", or scienitists willing to lie publicly on each demanded subject (87 pages total, scroll down).
- http://tobaccodocuments.org - more tobacco documents to search
- http://www.legacy.library.ucsf.edu - more tobacco documents to search