A scientific society is blocking tobacco industry science experts from its annual conferences. Tobacco giant British American Tobacco wants that changed.
LONDON — British American Tobacco’s (BAT) science chief, David O’Reilly, has urged the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) to reinstate the involvement of tobacco industry scientists to attend the group’s annual conference in 2022.
“BAT’s scientists have been proud to share their research at the SRNT Annual Meetings for many years,” he told SRNT leadership. “Our participation has helped advance tobacco and nicotine science to the benefit of the society, and ultimately, the public good.”
Openness and transparency are fundamental to science and to BAT.
Read our open letter to the Board of Directors at #SRNT urging them to reverse their recent decision to ban tobacco industry employees from attending their Annual Conference.https://t.co/bt4rHyPQjs pic.twitter.com/C4HixXQPL4
— BAT Science (@BAT_Sci) August 3, 2021
SRNT, however, has barred researchers with ties to the tobacco industry from presenting peer-reviewed research related to tobacco products and the development of risk-reduced products like electronic cigarettes and tobacco-free oral nicotine products.
“We share in SRNT’s stated commitments to the open dissemination of rigorous, peer-reviewed nicotine and tobacco science, with the ultimate goal of reducing public health impact of tobacco use,” O’Reilly said, via a letter. “Recent exclusion of employees of the tobacco industry and the contributions of tobacco industry scientists to dialogue at the Annual Meeting is contrary to your Code of Conduct and Guiding Principles.”
O’Reilly described that the purpose of the society is to promote inclusion and openness from all stakeholders dealing with tobacco and nicotine science. However, the society’s exclusion of tobacco industry scientists “impedes the “generation and dissemination of new knowledge concerning nicotine and tobacco.” The letter BAT sent to the society adds that “in an FDA-regulated market, the industry must routinely provide FDA regulators with scientific evidence about its products.” As a result, some of the best science in the tobacco and nicotine space is being generated from tobacco companies.”
O’Reilly added that “BAT is aligned with the SRNT Code of Conduct, and our employees that participate in SRNT conferences have always abided by SRNT rules.”