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How Harm Reduction Proponents and the Tobacco Industry Use Pandemics to Promote Nicotine

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Scientific treatises suggesting that smokers are less likely to be infected with COVID-19 have lost credibility as a link to the tobacco industry. BMJ today.

Journalists Stéphane Horel and Ties Keyzer with specific scientists tobacco And the e-cigarette industry has been featured in many COVID research treatises.

In April 2020, two French studies (shared as preprints prior to formal peer review) suggested that: nicotine It may have a protective effect against COVID-19 called the “nicotine hypothesis”.

The story garnered headlines around the world and led to concerns that decades of tobacco control could be compromised.

Since then, smoking has been completely disproved to prevent COVID-19, and some studies have shown that smoking is associated with an increase in COVID-19-related mortality, adjusted for age and gender. Is shown.

Horel and Keyzer, one of the research authors, Professor Jean-Pierre Changeux, questioned the dangers of smoking, questioned the dangers of smoking, and the positive effects of nicotine.

From 1995 to 1998 Tobacco industry According to the document, Changeux’s lab has received $ 220,000 (£ 155,000; € 180,000) from the Tobacco Research Council for Tobacco Research.

Changeux Guarantee BMJ He states that he has not been funded “directly or indirectly related to the tobacco industry” since the 1990s.

In late April 2020, Greek researcher Constantine Farsarinos was the first person to officially publish the “nicotine hypothesis” in an editorial in the Toxicology Report.

The journal’s editor-in-chief, Aristidis Tsasakis, was featured as a co-author, as was Wallace Hayes, a member of Philip Morris International. Scientific Advisory Group In 2013, I was a paid consultant for a tobacco company.

Another co-author is Konstantinos Poulas, director of the Institute for Molecular Biology and Immunology at Patras University, to which Farsalinos belongs.

The institute is funded by Nobacco, the market leader in e-cigarettes in Greece and the exclusive distributor of the British American Tobacco nicotine supply system since 2018.

Neither Farsalinos nor Poulas have declared this Nobacco funding in a publicly available document. Scientific treatise..

However, Horrell and Kaiser received two grants to the Patras Science Park in 2018 by the Foundation for the Smokeless World, a non-profit organization founded by Philip Morris International in 2017. Is shown.

The amount isn’t disclosed on the Foundation’s website, but tax documents show that the grant, which has risen to nearly € 83,000, is in a university startup incubator led by Mr. Pulas, who sells “organic” vapor-breathing products. Sent to a NOSMOKE.

last month, European Respiratory Society Withdrew a treatise co-authored by Pulas and Farsarinos, in particular, because the two authors were unable to disclose a conflict of interest.

The withdrawn article found that “current smoking is not associated with adverse consequences” in patients admitted with COVID, claiming that smokers are at significantly lower risk of being infected with the virus.

The Foundation has invested heavily in the COVID-19 / nicotine hypothesis, says Horrell and Kieser.

In June 2020, we secured € 900,000 for a study “To better understand the link between smoking and / or nicotine use and COVID-19 infection and consequences.”

The request stated that the pandemic provided “both the opportunity and challenge for individuals to quit smoking or move to lower-risk nicotine products.”

They conclude, “In 2021, in a global pandemic of lung disease, people in the tobacco industry are increasingly pushing the story of nicotine as a solution to their addiction.” Products that do not come out. This welcomes research on the virtual benefits of nicotine. ”


E-cigarettes and cigarettes Cigarette use is associated with an increased risk of respiratory symptoms


For more information:
Covid 19: How Harm Reduction Advocates and the Tobacco Industry Use Pandemics to Promote Nicotine, BMJ, DOI: 10.1136 / bmj.n1303 , www.bmj.com/content/373/bmj.n1303

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