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January 24, 1996

The AMA, Tobacco, and the Public Health

Author Affiliations

Harvard Medical School Boston, Mass

JAMA. 1996;275(4):276. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530280028019

To the Editor.  —Your devotion of an entire issue of JAMA to the murderous secret of Brown and Williamson is appropriate.1 Top-quality research confirming the addictive nature of nicotine and the carcinogenic nature of tobacco was suppressed for the sake of the industry's financial interest. Counteraction is due.Along with the actions you list to counter the tobacco industry influence, the medical world should publicly appeal to pharmacists and pharmacies to eschew sale of tobacco on their premises. It is astonishing that the source of curative products should be simultaneously selling addictive poisons. The tobacco industry must revel in the implicit endorsement brought by the juxtaposition of medicines with their packets of cigarettes.But there is another lesson in the Brown and Williamson exposure. In recent months, there have been wholesale attacks on government-funded medical research programs. The justification is generally that public money should not go to science;