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January 24, 1996

The Tobacco Industry and the Brown and Williamson Documents

Author Affiliations

Simon Fraser University Burnaby, British Columbia

JAMA. 1996;275(4):279-280. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530280031027

To the Editor.  —Dr Bero and colleagues1 allege that a project at Washington University, St Louis, in 1968 for which I was the principal investigator "was used in an attempt to directly influence the publication of a government public policy document on cigarettes through the establishment of an 'independent' advisor group without disclosing the role of the tobacco industry."1(p246)These claims are rank fabrications.In 1967, the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (DHEW)2 claimed increased morbidity among smokers based on the 1964 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). I had previously discovered that the survey suffered from major flaws that resulted in contradictory findings.Problems with the NHIS sampling procedures were eventually published,3 and this led to changes in NHIS's respondent selection to achieve better control for using proxies, which improved subsequent surveys.The main thrust of my grant proposal to the Council for Tobacco Research