BELGIUM:  Tobacco Lobby Recruited University Professors
Sociologist Claude Javeau (Brussels University) and philosopher Frank van Dun (Gent University) in the 1990s participated in tobacco industry strategies, promoting biased conclusions of polls financed by the tobacco industry against remuneration.
Between 1988 and 2000, about 50 university professors from 13 countries were members of ARISE (Associates for Research into the Science of Enjoyment), created and financed almost exclusively by the tobacco industry.
Quite active in the 1990s, when the tobacco control movement actively started, ARISE organised international conferences (in Florence, Venice, Brussels, Amsterdam, Kyoto..) as well as press conferences, commissioned opinion polls and published books with one leitmotiv: to respond to the Surgeon General’s Report, the highest American authority in the field of public health, which, in 1988 for the first time claimed that nicotine could be as highly addictive as heroin and cocaine.
Its technique: to position the cigarette at the level of small legal pleasures, such as chocolate, coffee, a glass of beer. In this way Claude Javeau, during conferences and in the media, expressed concerns against the crusade against smokers (annex 1) and was used (without his knowledge he currently claims) as a « messenger » by Philip Morris so that the Belgian political world would not take into account the preliminary findings of a wide epidemiological survey establishing the link between passive smoking and lung cancer (annex 2).
The sociologist claims that he was not aware that ARISE was financed by the tobacco industry, which is denied by the documents that we examined, drawn from millions of tobacco industry archive pages which were published during the important collective lawsuits and trials against the U.S. tobacco industry in the 1990s (annex 3).
Source: Le Soir, 8 June 2010