Warning: Anti-tobacco activism may be hazardous to epidemiologic science

Epidemiol Perspect Innov. 2007 Oct 22;4:13. doi: 10.1186/1742-5573-4-13.


This commentary accompanies two articles submitted to Epidemiologic Perspectives & Innovations in response to a call for papers about threats to epidemiology or epidemiologists from organized political interests. Contrary to our expectations, we received no submissions that described threats from industry or government; all were about threats from anti-tobacco activists. The two we published, by James E. Enstrom and Michael Siegel, both deal with the issue of environmental tobacco smoke. This commentary adds a third story of attacks on legitimate science by anti-tobacco activists, the author's own experience. These stories suggest a willingness of influential anti-tobacco activists, including academics, to hurt legitimate scientists and turn epidemiology into junk science in order to further their agendas. The willingness of epidemiologists to embrace such anti-scientific influences bodes ill for the field's reputation as a legitimate science.

Publication types

  • Editorial