Drug Pushers Still Buying Scientific Journals; Same Tactic Used So Successfully Before Multistate Tobacco Settlement
Drug Pushers Buy Scientific Journals
WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 14, 2021) - One of America's leading drug pushers, using a ploy from the tobacco companies' playbook, has purchased - or at least "rented" - an entire issue of a previously-respected scientific journal to showcase its own studies which, not surprisingly, promote drug use by teens and adults, notes public interest law professor John Banzhaf, the "Man Behind the Ban on Cigarette Commercials" and "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry."
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Juul, the largest but now beleaguered company promoting the inhalation of nicotine by using e-cigarettes, just paid $51,000 to the American Journal of Health Behavior to have the entire May/June issue feature nothing by Juul-sponsored studies purporting to show the benefits of a device which permits users - allegedly mostly teens - to inhale nicotine, and then too often to become addicted to the drug.
Not content with that favorable publicity and unique form of product placement, the company also paid an extra $6,500 to have the industry-sponsored articles open access to everyone, rather than being behind an Internet pay wall as was the journal's regular practice.
This is eerily reminiscent of the article planted by the tobacco industry's PR firm in True magazine - "showing" that cigarette smoking was safe. and did not cause lung cancer - and then promoted by an anonymous mailing to 600,000 people of influence.
Banzhaf's expose of that fraud and his complaint to the FTC, both documented on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, triggered a ruling in his favor, and a recommendation by that agency that cigarette commercials be banned.
The Tactic Of Promoting Fabricated Scientific Research
Trying to buy favorable publicity and public acceptance for a highly addictive product by paying for and then promoting so-called scientific research is a tactic used so successfully for many years by cigarette manufacturers, until a series of law suits I helped promote seemingly put an end to this insidious practice, says Banzhaf, who has also been called the "Ralph Nader of the Tobacco Industry," "Mr. Anti-Smoking," and "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars."
As one article about this new ploy put it, "Juul Rented A Scientific Journal For a Month To Spread Glorified Marketing."
This rental of an entire issue of a major journal at this time is no mere coincidence, says Banzhaf, who notes that on September 9th the FDA will decide whether Juul's claimed benefits, as a possible safer alternative for adult smokers, so far outweighs its well documented and successful appeal to children, who then become addicted to the nicotine e-cigarette users inhale directly into their lungs, which is what makes it so addictive.
More than ten years ago, Banzhaf filed a formal legal request asking the FDA to assert jurisdiction over the e-cigarettes which, even then, were known to be both deadly and addictive to users, and already increasingly popular with children.
Indeed, he called them "candy cigarettes on steroids," noting that both products were alluring to young people. But, while candy cigarettes were clearly just pretend, since they contained no nicotine and were unrealistic looking except perhaps to young children, e-cigarettes allow youngsters to obtain the same nicotine drug kick as real cigarettes. Many e-cigarettes are also more realistic, and allow kids to pretend to smoke by emitting visible nicotine-infested vapor which resembles that from tobacco cigarettes.
Even without the FDA's help, Professor Banzhaf was able to use legal action, and the threat of legal action, to require major credit card and other companies to cease assisting in the sale of e-cigarettes.
He also helped persuade several legislative bodies to prohibit their sale to children, and to ban their use in public places where the smoking of tobacco products was prohibited. Interestingly, since he started the movement which led to the ban on the use of tobacco products on U.S. airlines, he also helped keep e-cigarettes from being used during flights.
Now it's up to the FDA to do something it should have done more than a dozen years ago, argues Banzhaf.