Tomorrow is World No Tobacco Day. This year its theme is the targeting of children by the tobacco and vaping industries.
In 2001 I led a team of researchers at the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health on a 5 year US National Institutes of Health grant. Our aim was to explore many millions of pages of previously internal tobacco industry documents on the transnational tobacco industry’s activities in Australia and Asia.
As we excavated the relevant documents housed in University of California at San Francisco’s Legacy (now numbering over 14 million) our team would make screen shots of important passages and add these to powerpoint sets, as well as filing whole documents in various work-in-progress files.
This morning I revisited one of these powerpoints, containing 72 slides on what we found about the tobacco industry’s interests in children. As you will expect, these show naked, intense interest by the industry in children, sometimes very young children. They also show the ways in which the industry tried to deny this interest whenever confronted with it.
The standard response by the industry to these documents today is to dismiss them as being old and irrelevant: they would, of course, never pass such data, analysis and comments among themselves today. Of course.
The slide collection is here (in powerpoint form)