British American Tobacco Worked to Discredit Cancer Link

Internal company papers from British American Tobacco reveal that Britain’s largest tobacco company spent millions on research to challenge the link between smoking and lung cancer, the Observer reported May 30.

According to the documents, BAT funded university research that supported the “genetic predisposition” theory, which argued that certain individuals are born more susceptible to lung cancer than others.

The theory suggested that only one in 10 smokers had a “heightened risk” from smoking. Scientists funded by the tobacco industry also said that they were three years away from developing a testing kit that would enable smokers to determine whether they had a heightened genetic risk of developing cancer.

Many experts questioned the research, arguing that it ignored other smoking-related diseases, such as emphysema.