Shubik Committee

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

The Shubik Committee began life as a Presidentially appointed Ad Hoc Committee of the National Cancer Advisory Board which consisted or socialites, financiers, and media persons. They then appointed Dr Philippe Shubik to chair a committee of scientists to investigate the apparent lack of progress of the NCI Tobacco Working Group. They also had some oversight on the National Heart & Lung Institute.

The original Ad Hoc Committee appointed by President Nixon consisted of an odd blend of philanthropists, venture capitalist, broadcasters, political players and scientists. It is difficult to know whether this was a genuine attempt to discover useful information, or a deliberate delaying tactic introduced to help the industry, placed in the hands of the New York elite social set. The resultant Shubik Committee, however, had a strong (seemingly) independent research focus, although its meetings were also attended by the top lawyers and scientific disinformation executives of the tobacco companies.

NCI Tobacco Working Group
Dr Gio Batta Gori
Dr Philippe Shubik

Since the first general recognition that cigarettes were causing cancer and possibly heart disease in 1950-51 (Doll & Hill and Graham & Wynder) the tobacco companies had been reducing the levels of 'tar' and nicotine in their cigarettes, producing a lighter flavoured smoke, which many of the more addicted smokers found unsatisfactory. The companies were therefore loath to reduce these levels further.

In the medical areas, however, it was also recognised that the Tobacco Working Group was making no progress towards developing a 'Safe cigarette' or even a 'Safer cigarette'.

Documents & Timeline

1972 March 7 White House release of 18 new members of National Cancer Advisory Board + five ex-officio members

  • the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare;
  • the Director of the Office of Science and Technology;
  • the Director of the National Institutes of Health;
  • the chief medical officer of the Veterans Administration (or his designee);
  • medical officer designated by the Secretary of Defense.

Two members had six year terms: one was Nixon's friend Benno Schmidt: [2]

Benno C Schmidt was not listed in the original release, but was a member a year later. He acted as a personal liaison between the National Cancer Institute (NCI), American Cancer Association (ACS) and President Nixon. He was an old financial backer and friend of the President.]

1973 Feb 22 Tobacco Industry report on the Ad Hoc Committee on Smoking and Health -- a Presidentially appointed committee of the National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) -- which held its first meeting in public ... "to review current smoking-health efforts of the NCI and National Heart and Lung Institute, and would make recommendations to the full NCAB."

There were 17 named members, eight of whom were NCAB members"

Other members were


1973 Mar 25 Meeting of Philippe Shubik's committee. Joseph H Ogura was also a member of the Cancer Advisory Board and new on the Shubik Committee. He joined Gio Batta Gori, Daniel Horn, Charles J Kensler, Jonathan E Rhoads, Umberto Saffiotti and Ernest Wynder.

[They appear to have lost some members, and coopted some new ones.]
  • "Advisors" were Milt from American Cancer Society and Brauninger (FTC).
  • Joseph H Ogura and Kenneth L Krabbenhoft (radiologist) were from the "Advisory Board".
  • TC Tso was chief of the tobacco laboratory from Agriculture.(and TWG)
  • Industry people in attendance werer Fred Panzer (Philip Morris), Wally Hughes (B&W), Alexander W Spears (Lorillard), Jenkins and William Shinn (SH&B).
- Rhoads wanted the committee to harden its position against voluntary measures: He wanted the FDA to be given power over tobacco. Lower tar levels had failed to reduce death rate. Wanted lower rates to be mandatory.
- Kensler (Arthur D Little) thought the companies had doing a successful job in lowering tar and nicotine.
- Horn said smokers of low tar cigarettes didn't compensate by smoking more
- Shubick wanted more scientific research to be done. He hoped lower tar and nicotine levels would make a 'safer cigarette': he would like everyone to quit;
- Wynder was concerned about getting industry cooperation and wanted industry to provide more funds. He though the present cigarettes were safer.
- Saffiotti didn't like the voluntary reduction process. He wanted everyone to clearly accept the "smoking-cancer link"

Everyone agreed that reduction in tar and nicotine is the best way to design a less hazardous cigarette. They approved a combined research program by Gori's Tobacco Working Group [4]

[The company Arthur D Little was a large, many-faceted contract research organisation much favoured by the tobacco industry. In return, they always supported the industry viewpoint.]

1978 The "First Draft" of a long "White Paper. Smoking & Health: The Untold Story". The Roswell Park research institute's, Irwin DJ Bross is critical of the NCI and other cancer agencies

Dr. Irwin DJ Bross, Director of Biostatistics for the Roswell Park Memorial Institute, testified on June 14, 1977 to the House Intergovernmental Relations and Human Resources Subcommittee.

[Roswell Park in Buffalo, New York is named after Dr Roswell Park. It was America's first dedicated medical (cancer) research and treatment institute]

Dr. Bross pinned the failure of our nation's cancer programs on the hazy administrative superstructure that controls the National Cancer Institute, and he did not hesistate to name names: (He said that) "The superstructure was largely engineered and controlled by the American Cancer Society, a principal beneficiary of NCI funds. The liaison with the White House, Benno Schmidt, and the Director of the National Cancer Institute, Frank Rauscher, and many members of the National Cancer Advisory Board, such as Mary Lasker, all had close ties with ACS.

This is also true, for that matter, for proposed replacements for Frank Rauscher (who moved from NCI to a better paid position as an ACS vice president). What the superstructure did was to concentrate power in a tight little professional in-group which then proceeded to run the Conquest of Cancer program as a closed corporation with a total disregard for the public interest.

"In any other areas of the federal government, this cozy set-up would have been regarded as very questionable or outright corrupt. This set-up is not worth revamping and should be junked. The American Cancer Society should be barred from getting any NCI grants... for the next four years." [5]

[Benno C Schmidt Senior was a lawyer and venture capitalist, and partner with Jock Whitney who published the New York Herald Tribune. He was also on the Board of CBS TV and the Sloan-Kettering Institute (SKI) which did cancer studies.]