The whole truth and nothing but the truth? The research that Philip Morris did not want you to see

Lancet. 2005 Jul;366(9479):86-92. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(05)66474-4.


The tobacco industry maintained, for many years, that it was unaware of research about the toxic effects of smoking. By the 1970s, however, the industry decided that it needed this information but they were unwilling to seek it in a way that was open to public scrutiny. By means of material from internal industry documents it can be revealed that one company, Philip Morris, acquired a research facility, INBIFO, in Germany and created a complex mechanism seeking to ensure that the work done in the facility could not be linked to Philip Morris. In particular it involved the appointment of a Swedish professor as a 'co-ordinator', who would synthesise reports for onward transmission to the USA. Various arrangements were made to conceal this process, not only from the wider public, but also from many within Philip Morris, although it was known to some senior executives. INBIFO appears to have published only a small amount of its research and what was published appears to differ considerably from what was not. In particular, the unpublished reports provided evidence of the greater toxicity of sidestream than mainstream smoke, a finding of particular relevance given the industry's continuing denial of the harmful effects of passive smoking. By contrast, much of its published work comprises papers that convey a message that could be considered useful to the industry, in particular casting doubt on methods used to assess the effects of passive smoking.

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Research*
  • Disclosure*
  • Humans
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Industry*
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution