BAT has asked the board of directors of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco (SRNT) to reverse its decision to ban employees of the tobacco industry from attending the society’s annual conference in 2022.
“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,” wrote BAT Director of Scientific Research David O’Reilly in a letter to the SRNT.
“However, your 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.”
Exclusion, O’Reilly noted, impedes “the generation and dissemination of new knowledge concerning nicotine and tobacco.” “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,” he wrote.
Exclusion also undercuts the SRNT’s commitment to “open science without bias,” “promoting scientific dialogue” and “empowering members to make their own informed decisions,” according to O’Reilly. “The board’s decision contradicts the evidence-based principles that underpin the U.S. policy approach, which prioritizes science, irrespective of the source,” O’Reilly wrote.
“In light of our concerns, we respectfully request that the SRNT board reconsider its decision and reaffirm that ‘SRNT is committed to nicotine and tobacco researchers around the world.’”