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New Research Uncovers ‘One of the Tobacco Industry’s Greatest Scams’

In another case of the fox watching the henhouse, the tobacco industry has been caught in what BMJ writers call one of the industry’s “greatest scams” — purporting to prevent tobacco smuggling while at the same time facilitating it. Smuggling boosts the industry’s bottom line because it bypasses taxes, which makes smuggled cigarettes cheaper, which ultimately increases industry sales.

According to Eurekalert, the tobacco industry has been caught helping this to happen by failing to control its supply chain at the front end. Not only that, they’ve also been caught manipulating research and creating front groups, fake news and payments to influence organizations meant to hold the industry accountable.

The intricate web that Big Tobacco has woven spreads around the world: You need look no further than the scandal that Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald created when Politico discovered she had purchased tobacco stocks after her appointment as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fitzgerald quickly resigned but, sadly, hers is not the only case like this.

From soda to sugar to agriculture to pharmaceuticals and chemicals, each big industry has its own fox-in-the-henhouse tale to tell and, what’s worse, the plot always leads to the very agencies that are supposed to protect you and your health. For example, Fitzgerald also had a long history of collaborating with Coca-Cola, having received $1 million in funding from the company while she was commissioner of Georgia’s department of public health — to combat childhood obesity.

But Georgia’s health department isn’t the only entity the soda giant funds. All told, more than 90 different medical and health organization, including the American Diabetes Association and the American Society have been caught accepting Coca-Cola’s dollars.

Right along with that, the sugar industry itself funnels big bucks to the very organizations set up to be watchdogs over your health and, like Big Tobacco, has been caught burying evidence that sugar can harm you, while manipulating, molding and guiding nutritional “research” that exonerates sugar by shifting the blame for obesity and heart disease to saturated fat. Not only that, the industry also influenced the dental industry by shifting the focus from sugar as a cause of dental caries to the “need” for fluoridation to prevent it.

The front groups that protect these industries are another whole story. For example, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) claims to be an independent research and advocacy group devoted to debunking junk science, but it’s anything but that. The ACSH has defended everything from fracking to pesticides to toxic flame retardants to sugar and more — all funded by a who's-who of energy, agriculture, cosmetics, food, soda, chemical, pharmaceutical and tobacco corporations.

What this tells us is that more than ever you need to be your own advocate. Take control of your own health by eating the healthiest foods possible, refusing to believe lies spread by big industries selling tobacco, sugar and drugs or chemicals that you know in your heart aren’t good for you, and demanding that news agencies do a better job at reporting the truths from truly unbiased reports.
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