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University pressured to retract two tobacco studies sponsored by Philip Morris

By Thor Benson
University pressured to retract two tobacco studies sponsored by Philip Morris
Marlboro cigarettes. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

ZURICH, Switzerland, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Academics and tobacco opponents are calling on the University of Zurich to retract two studies on tobacco that were sponsored by tobacco company Philip Morris.

The papers, which were sponsored by Philip Morris International, found making tobacco companies use plain packaging didn't influence how likely young people were to smoke. The researchers used data from Australia, where plain packaging standards had been implemented.

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The papers were not peer-reviewed, and Philip Morris demanded to see the results before they were published.

Pascal Diethelm, the president of Swiss anti-smoking organization OxyRomandie, has sent a letter to the head of the university. "You will see in the Annex the list of errors which we have identified with these two papers," the letter reads. "They are extremely serious. Taken individually, most of them are sufficient to invalidate the findings of the papers. Collectively, they are damning."

In addition, a group of doctors called for that papers' retraction in a comment on the website of BMJ, a peer-reviewed medical journal.

The authors, in response, called the criticism "defamatory" and said they would not withdraw the papers.

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